What is a nail fungal infection?
The infection begins as a yellowish, brownish or whitish mark at the tips of your nails. Your nails then become frail and brittle. They become thick and may even change their shape. You will notice a build-up of debris beneath the nails. The color becomes increasingly darker and duller. The area may be painful and tender. The nail may slowly detach itself from the nail bed or the skin.
It takes time and patience to get rid of toenail fungus. However, you can effectively eliminate toe fungus and keep it from recurring.
How do you get rid of foot fungus?
- Oral medication
Apply a systematic treatment using oral antifungal prescription drugs. This treatment will usually take a period of 2 or 3 months.
Make sure to inform your doctor if you have problems like autoimmune disorders, susceptibility to infections, symptoms of depression, or liver disease. Notify your doctor about other medications that you are taking to make sure that they do not interfere with the antifungal drugs he may prescribe.
- Topical therapy
Topical medications serve to hasten the effects of oral therapy.
If you have problems with long-term oral treatment, you can try topical prescriptions on their own. It is important, though, to see to it that the disease does not include the nail matrix which is found at the foot of the nail. If it does, the topical ointment may not be able to break through the nail to reach the diseased area.
- Surgical treatment
If you are suffering from a relentless case of toe fungal infection, you may have to consider going for surgery. A doctor will excise the affected area. He will then recommend the use of antifungal cream to ensure that the new nail that grows is free from infection.
- Nail debridement
If you are looking for a treatment that does not require surgery or the intensive use of drugs, you may opt for nail debridement. A doctor will remove infected or dead tissue and trim the nail.
Prior to removing the affected tissue, the doctor will use urea ointment and swathe the area with a dressing. After about 10 days, he will take out the dressing. The diseased portion will have become soft by now, making it easy for the doctor to remove it. The procedure is usually straightforward and painless.
- Laser treatment
Laser treatment is another option. A high-focus laser beam exterminates the fungus on the nail. This option is costly and still on an experimental stage.
- Alternative treatments
Orange Oil and Tea Tree Oil Rub
Toenail fungus can be treated with tea tree oil, which is well-recognized for its ability to disinfect and fight fungi and bacteria.
This essential oil, however, cannot be used in pure form. It has to be diluted before it can be applied on the diseased part of the nail.
You can prepare the rub by mixing tea tree oil (1 teaspoon), orange oil (1/2 teaspoon), and olive oil or grape seed oil (1/2 teaspoon).
Use a cotton ball to apply the rub to the infection. Use gentle but firm pressure to push the cotton ball on the area. Allow the area to dry naturally.
Do this twice a day, preferable in the morning and before retiring to bed.
Tea Tree Soak
You can also put about 5 drops of the oil in water. Put your feet in the water, soaking the infected area for about 20 minutes.
Do the foot-soak after your morning shower. Do it again before going to bed at night.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Treatment
Fungi thrive in acidic environments. Baking soda is an alkaline; it prevents the spread and growth of fungi. Diluted vinegar helps to get rid of the fungi without harming the pH environment.
This treatment calls for baking powder (5 tablespoons), apple cider or white vinegar (1 cup), and water.
Put the vinegar in enough water. Soak your feet in the mixture for a quarter of an hour. Dry your feet using soft paper towels.
Make another mixture – this time using the baking powder and clean water. Soak your feet for another 15 minutes.
This treatment uses the vinegar to get rid of the infection and the baking soda to hinder the growth of the fungi.
Do the procedure two times a day.
Tips for Preventing and Inhibiting Nail Fungal Infections
It is just as important to get rid of nail fungus as it is to prevent new growth.
Take note of the following tips:
- Before you apply a specific treatment, make sure that you clip your nails with clean and sterile nail clippers.
- Wash the clippers thoroughly to cleanse and disinfect them after each use. Not doing so will allow the fungus to spread.
- Apply the treatments diligently. Most treatments take time to work. Be persistent in applying the remedies.
- Always keep your feet clean and dry. Put your socks in the laundry after using them once. Changing socks frequently will keep your feet from becoming damp with sweat.
- If it is possible, opt to use open-toed footwear to allow your feet to breath.
- Choose socks made of absorbent material. Opt for socks made from polypropylene, cotton, or wool.
- Always keep your toenails clean and short.
- Make sure that you completely dry your feet after you take a bath or a shower.
- Make sure that you have your own nail clippers and other similar tools. Do not share.
- Choose foot powder with antifungal properties.
- Do not use nail polish. Artificial nail products tend to promote moisture, which fungi thrive on.
- If the nail fungal infections persist, consult your doctor.
- If natural remedies are not effective, ask your doctor about other available options.