What is nail fungus?
Nail fungus, also known as Onychomycosis, is an organism which digests the keratin found in your fingernails and toenails. The fingernail and toenail are naturally built to be strong barriers, and resistant to fungi and other infections. However, because of how strong this barrier is, once the infection is present, it is sometimes very difficult to eliminate.
How can I prevent nail fungus?
One of the most important steps in preventing nail infections is to keep nails well trimmed, but not over trimming them. Cutting the nail too short can cause small cuts and tears, which could allow fungal organisms to penetrate your nail bed. To prevent toenail fungal infections, keep your feet as dry and clean as possible at all times. Change socks and shoes frequently. If you have athlete's foot, treat it regularly. Athlete's foot is a fungus which can spread to your toenails. Do not share nail clippers with anyone else, as it is possible to transmit the fungus.
How common is nail fungus?
No one knows for sure, but experts estimate that 30-35 million Americans are affected by this condition.
What are the symptoms?
Because nail fungus can affect the toenails' appearance, they are rather unsightly for an untrained eye. Usually people first discover the infection because of the nail discoloration. Nails may turn green or yellow, but in some cases they turn into an even darken color. Other rather common nail fungus symptoms may be: nails may get flaky, and chipped, bits of "gunk" or debris may collect under your nails, your nails may smell bad, toenails may get so thick that wearing shoes causes pain, discomfort from the infection may make it hard to walk, or do other activities.
How can I cure my nail infection?
There are two primary methods of treating nail fungus. Topical treatments (liquids, creams) are commonly used for to treat less severe cases. These treatments are usually acid-based liquids or anti-fungal creams. Oral treatments are powerful anti-fungal medications, such as Lamisil or Sporanox. Prescription oral medications are usually used in more severe or difficult cases. Nail infections can be difficult to cure, but can usually be treated effectively. See the nail fungus treatments section at http://www.nail-fungus.org for more information.
If you suspect that you have a fungal nail infection, you should see your doctor or dermatologist. Your doctor will do a test to tell if you do have a fungal nail infection, and if you do, make a recommendation on treatment options. The earlier that an infection is detected, the easier it will be to treat.
Article provided by http://www.nail-fungus.org, a resource dedicated to providing information on the symptoms, treatment options, and cause of nail fungus.