How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus?
This morning, my girlfriend told me she has a bad case of toenail fungus. It is so bad that half of each of her big toenail is thickened, numb to touch and feels hollow with scaling underneath. Knowing this has been a persistent problem she has had for a few years and ignored, her recent trip to a new nail spa had her committing to a jaw-dropping bill for a long-term treatment plan to (hopefully) eradicate the problem.
I asked her how she got it. She had no idea and responded with a unperturbed reply of ” something that just happened over time I guess”.
What is nail fungus?
Officially known as onychomcosis (on-ih-koh-my-KOH-sis), nail fungus is essential nails that have come in contact and been infected in a fungus-thriving environment, like shoes. When moisture is trapped in a warm dark place, fungi flourishes. In the case of nails, fungi overgrowth can occur in, under and on the nail bed.
Fungus infection can also be present in and on our body. People over the age of 65, have diabetes or illness that causes poor blood circulation and weak immune systems are more likely to develop fungal nail infection. This goes the same for people who swim in public swimming pools, have a nail injury and wear artificial nails.
Nail fungus is contagious. If you get a manicure or pedicure at a nail salon, be sure to inquire how the staff disinfects their tools, and how often. If not sanitized, fungus can easily spread from person-to-person on shared items like emery boards and nail clippers.
What does it look like?
It ain’t pretty! Nail fungus can affect part of the nail, the entire nail or several nails at one go. You may have nail fungus – if one or more of your nails are:
– brittle, crumbly corners and flaking white areas on the nail’s surface
– scaling under the nails
– have white or yellow streaks across the nail
– distorted in shape
– dull and dark colored nail (caused by dirt and debris buildup under the nail)
– nail is separated from nail bed
– loss of nail
How to treat it?
The first stop most people would go to is over-the-counter products. Antifungal creams, nail lacquer and topical solutions are standard treatments easily available to anyone going to a pharmacy. But depending on the type and degree of infection, these over-the-counter treatments are not usually recommended because they do not provide reliable results; and if they do, will take several months (up to a year) to realize. To get rid of fungal infection completely, you need to rid your internal body from the fungus as well. If not, it will return. Your best option is to see a doctor. He/she will most likely prescribe oral antifungal medication such as fluconazole (Diflucan) and terbinafine (Lamisil).
Any natural alternatives?
If the infection is not severe, you might be able to give natural remedies a shot. Here is 1 simple home remedy to get rid of toenail fungus.
Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant with fungicidal and anti-bacterial properties that make it popular and effective in treating toenail fungus. Although there is a lack of medical evidence that this method works, there are reports that tea tree oil was shown to be as effective as clotrimazole, a fungal medication, in treating nail fungus. For it to work, tea tree oil must be applied on properly.
Step 1: Use a nail clipper to remove any dead nail. Take your time. Be careful and avoid cutting into your skin.
Step 2: File down the infected nail with a coarse file filer. File away as much dead nail as you can.
Step 3: Rinse nails with soap and water. Pat dry.
Step 4: Pour a moderate amount of tea tree oil on a cotton pad and dab onto the infected nail. Make sure the cotton pad is moist with tea tree oil solution.
Step 5: Let your nails dry.
Step 6: Repeat Step 3-5 twice a day. Repeat Step 1-2 once a week.
Continue doing this until you see an improvement in the nail regrowth.