A Guide to Good Health

How Toe Fungus Affects You And Your Family

If you have a toenail fungus problem, then you know how unsightly, and even smelly, it can be. Anyone in your family can have a toenail fungus, even your children, so it's important to know more about what they look like, their causes, and treatments. Here is more about toenail fungus, whether its dangerous, and what you should do about it.

What Does Toenail Fungus Look Like?

For most people, toenail fungus usually discolors the nails, making one or more of them (especially the big toenail) turn a dull yellow color or very dark brown or black. The nail will be unusually brittle and ragged and may even smell a little. In some cases, the nail may be sensitive to the touch. Sometimes, a fungus-infected nail grows in a strange shape.

Can Nail Polish be Used With Toenail Fungus?

You may be tempted to cover up the discolored nail with nail polish, but that is not a good idea. The fungus likes dark and damp places. Dark and opaque nail polish makes a perfect environment for the fungus to thrive. Some nail polishes boast anti-fungal properties, but use those with caution if you must paint your nails.

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is contracted from fungus already present in the environment and, possibly, even your body if you have other fungal issues. It can easily be spread from using public showers, nail salons with poor sanitation practices, or other moist, warm environments. If you sweat a lot or have chronic athlete's foot, then you are at higher risk.

Is Toenail Fungus Dangerous?

If you have a compromised immune system or a chronic condition like diabetes, then you could be at risk for a severe infection like cellulitis, especially if the fungus causes cracks and bleeding in the skin. With certain health conditions, your body may be inadequately equipped to fight off the fungus. Therefore, see your doctor right away if you have immune system issues and develop a toenail fungus infection.

How is Toenail Fungus Treated?

While several over-the-counter medications are available to treat toenail fungus, see a doctor first for an exact diagnosis before self-treating. The doctor can provide topical and oral medications to control and eliminate the fungus. Also, try to prevent the fungus from getting worse by wearing shoes made of fabric that breathes, using sweat-absorbing socks, and covering your feet in a public shower.

If you, or anyone else in your family, are suffering from a toenail fungus infection, and the problem doesn't seem to be going away, then visit your family medical practice service for an examination. Your family medical practice can give you medications to help clear up the fungus infection quickly so that your nail looks healthy again and doesn't cause any other problems.