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Get Rid of Fungal Nail Infection

Onychomycosis (OM) or fungal infection of the nail plate (fingernail or toenail) may be due to a dermatophyte (yeast) or non-dermatophyte (mould) invasion. The actual infection is of the bed of the nail and of the plate under the surface of the nail. Its prevalence in diabetic patients is around 26 percent and it can be found to be three times more common in diabetics compared to non-diabetic individuals. Other synonymous terms used for this fingernail infection are “ringworm of the nail” or “tinea unguium” if they are caused by a dermatophyte.

There are several subtypes of onychomycosis but the most common is the distal lateral subungual OM (DLSO) which presents as a thickened and opacified nail plate with thickened skin. Nail discoloration ranges from white to brown and the edge of the involved area is often dystrophic or hard, while the edge of the nail itself becomes severely eroded.

OM is not life threatening, but it can cause pain, discomfort, and disfigurement and may produce serious physical and occupational limitations. Psychosocial and emotional effects resulting from OM are widespread and may have a significant impact on quality of life. Affected individuals may find these funny-looking nails embarrassing and feel unwilling to show their fingers and feet in social and occupational circumstances. Even a manicurist could recognize such nails and automatically calls it “fungal nails” which sounds like something infectious and due to poor hygiene.

Increasingly, onychomycosis is viewed as more than a mere cosmetic problem and worth treating. Treatment of this condition needs to consider the patient’s age and health, the infecting organism, potential side effects and drug interactions of the various agents, cost of treatment, dosage schedule and patient compliance since therapy usually is long term. Various agents previously used were topical treatments applied to the nails and systemic drugs such as griseofulvin and ketoconazole. However, these drugs brought many side effects like liver toxicity and were superseded by newer oral antifungal agents such as itraconazole (Sporanox), terbinafine (Lamisil), and fluconazole (Diflucan). These agents, when taken orally for as little as 12 weeks, bring about better cure rates and fewer side effects.

Onychomycosis has a high rate of recurrence and relapse. Several preventive measures can be done to avoid this such as:
• Avoid going barefoot in public places such as health clubs, public showers, locker rooms and hotel rooms. Use appropriate footwear.
• Keep feet cool and dry.
• Apply topical antifungal medication regularly to the feet and toenail.
• Discard old shoes and “rest” your favorite shoes periodically to reduce exposure to fungi.
• Apply an antifungal spray or powder to the inside of the shoes once a week.
• Keep the nails short.
• Daily changes of socks and hosiery may help.
• Avoid excessively tight hosiery or shoes which can promote moisture.
• CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR to prevent further fungal infections.

So, don’t be upset by those fungal nails. Once diagnosed by your doctor, comply with your medications, follow the preventive steps to avoid recurrence, maintain low levels of blood sugar and in no time, you can NAIL THAT FUNGUS!!

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