Managing Nail Fungal Infection
Everyone wants pretty and clean-looking nails, but not by relying on nail polish to hide the grey or yellow ones away. The first big step to beautiful nails is the prevention or treatment of nail fungal infection!
What is nail fungal infection?
Nail fungal infection is commonly known as the grey nail. The affected nail is usually grey or yellow in colour and in some cases, the nail may thicken or have crumbling edges.
To make sure your nails are healthy, watch out for the following symptoms:
- White or yellow streaks, or discolouration on the nail
- Loss of the nail’s natural shine and lustre
- Brittleness of the nails coupled with crumbly or ragged edges
- Thickening of the nail or having a build-up of debris on the nail
- The nail has a change in shape, is loose or is lifted up
- The name is separated from the bed, causing pain and a slightly foul odour
Who is susceptible to this type of infection?
The older you become, the more likely you are to suffer from nail fungal infection, and men are more likely to be affected than women.
Nail fungal infections are also commonly found in people who:
- Perspire heavily
- Work in moist and humid environments
- Wear socks and shoes with poor ventilation
- Have other skin conditions such as athlete’s foot
- Have a previous nail injury, damaged nail or other infections
- Walk barefoot in damp public places (e.g. pools and gyms)
- Have poor blood circulation (e.g. diabetics) and a poor immune system
Treating nail fungal infections
In most cases, an anti-fungal nail lotion containing clotrimazole or tolnafate can be used for the treatment of nail fungal infections. The lotion is to be applied to the affected nail(s) twice daily.
A pharmacist may recommend an anti-fungal nail lacquer containing amorolfine as it has been proven to be more effective than anti-fungal nail lotions. The medication is to be used twice weekly.
Do remember to wash your hands thoroughly after touching and cleaning infected nails. Also, nail varnish or artificial nails should not be used when you are self-treating a nail fungal infection.
How to prevent
Nail fungal infection may not be one of your top concerns currently, but it is definitely good to take precaution against it. Adopt the following good habits to prevent this type of infection.
- Trim nails regularly and keep nails clean and dry
- Change your socks daily and have an extra pair of shoes for rotation
- Avoid wearing shoes with pointed toes
- Use open-toe footwear whenever possible
- Spray or sprinkle feet, socks and shoes with an anti-fungal spray or powder
- Avoid going barefoot in public places
- Ensure sterilised instruments are used when going for a manicure or pedicure
- Clean your feet with mild soap and water, and pat dry gently
When to consult a doctor
Getting an advice from a doctor may be better than self-treating a nail fungal infection in the following cases.
- If you feel pain when walking
- If you have difficulty picking up small items due to the pain on your fingers
- If there is redness or pus in your fingers or toes
- If the person having a nail fungal infection is a child younger than 12 years old
- If the infection affects most nails or the nail bed is affected
- If the infection is a recurring one despite self-management