Rain-soaked boots, tight-fitting warm shoes, weakened immunity—all of these increase the risk of onychomycosis.
Mushrooms strike in the fall
Unpleasant yellowing of cracks in legs between fingers and nails? You may have a fungal infection. About 10% of the world's population suffers from this tiny foe, and the number of victims of onychomycosis (or nail fungus) has more than doubled in the past 10 years.
Both men and women fall victim to it with equal success. But the risk of getting sick increases with age. For example, 70 years later, one person gets onychomycosis every second.
Fortunately, children are much less likely to be infected, as babies' nails grow much faster than adults, while fungi, on the other hand, grow rather slowly.
Where can you get fungus? Yes, most likely from their own relatives.
Recent research has found that nail fungus most often runs in families, even if it consists of two people. High-risk groups include people with excessive sweating, weakened immunity, and flat feet. Shoes that are too narrow can lead to disease: the skin of the feet and nails is more prone to injury. Stockings and socks made of synthetic fibers, autumn and winter shoes have poor breathability, creating a humid microclimate for the feet. Regular exposure of the hands to washing and cleaning household products can damage the nails on the hands, and while fungi only like weakened and damaged nail plates, healthy nails are rarely susceptible to fungal infections. The following are the main causes of onychomycosis:
Cracks and scratches on the skin, nail injuries, and often wet feet.
Presence of diseases: diabetes, AIDS, obesity, decreased immunity. The risk of getting sick increases if the tone of the blood vessels in the legs is disturbed, such as in heart failure or varicose veins.
Take antibiotics, oral contraceptives.
The disease first develops on the skin of the feet, usually in the interdigital folds. A fungus that lives on the skin can poison anyone's life.
Over time, the affected area can catch nails not only on the legs but also on the hands. Sooner or later, another person will step on the sloughed skin scales and become infected.
Superficially, nail fungus may look like this: The nail changes in color and thickness, and the nail begins to chip or collapse.
where is the infection site
You can pick up fungus in public areas (floors in gym locker rooms, bathrooms, swimming pools, manicure/pedicure salons, hotels, beaches) and in your own home.
Sharing shoes, walking barefoot, household items and furniture (towels, rugs, hoods) at home, country or party - these are the factors that determine the spread of the fungus among members of the same family, their relatives and friends.
The most effective way to fight nail fungus is primary prevention. Avoiding an infection is better than treating it later. To avoid getting nail fungus, you must follow these simple rules:
- Never use someone else's shoes, and never give yours to someone else, even someone close to you.
- Don't use the same nail accessories to treat diseased and healthy nails.
- If possible, disinfect all objects that the patient's legs and hands come in contact with.
- Do not walk barefoot in public places, and preferably not at home. When going to the hammam, sauna or swimming pool, use splash-proof closed rubber slippers. On the beach, only slippers are allowed.
- After the pool, you need to take a shower.
- Never go to bathrooms and swimming pools if you have cracks in the soles of your shoes.
- After visiting a public place, treat the skin on your feet with boron alcohol or some kind of antifungal ointment, cream, gel, or spray. For prevention, an alcoholic solution of almost any antifungal or antiseptic is suitable.
- Don't wear rubber boots for long periods of time, uncomfortable shoes can rub your feet.
- Do not abuse synthetic socks or tights, change them daily.
Seek medical attention immediately!
The first time you suspect that you have a fungal infection, you should consult a mycologist or dermatologist. The doctor will not only perform an examination to assess the thickness and structure of the nail, but will also make a tissue scraping for analysis. Only then can he determine the presence of the fungus and its type and prescribe the correct treatment.
If onychomycosis is left untreated, it can cause nails to fall out. Infections can damage the entire body. Fungi release toxic substances that cause allergic reactions and reduce immunity.
It is necessary to know clearly that in the first stage it is easy to get rid of the infection. If the disease does not progress, topical treatment is possible: cut off the affected area of the nail, cover the remaining nail with an antifungal varnish, lubricate with an antifungal ointment, many today.
Remember, the longer the fungus lives on the nail, the harder it will be to get rid of it. In later stages, when years after infection (and toenails are affected), fungal disease is difficult to treat.
what you need to know
- It is necessary to sound the alarm at the first skin sign of fungus. Fungal infections on the skin are easier and faster to treat than on the nails. Just one week is enough to lubricate the affected area with an antifungal, which is plentiful at any drugstore.
- Fungus can also infect the hair, although the most common is fungus on the nails.
- Sometimes changes in the appearance of the nails are not related to the fungus, but are caused by the state of the internal organs: cardiovascular and pulmonary insufficiency, renal or hepatic dysfunction. Nails may turn yellow after taking strong medications. Nail damage is also caused by lichen planus, eczema, psoriasis, and finally, nail damage can also occur. But in most cases, the appearance of the nail will eventually change due to a fungal infection.
Treating nail fungus with folk remedies is rarely effective. However, here are two recipes.
- Apply a piece of kombucha to the sore nail and wrap the finger with a bandage. This will soften the nail and allow you to cut it easily. Repeat this process until the nails are completely soft. Then steam your legs and lubricate with this mixture: take one part vinegar, two parts glycerin, two parts 96% alcohol. Prepare the garlic oil: Grate the garlic, pour in sunflower oil heated to 60 degrees (the oil should coat the garlic) - mix everything, then soak in an airtight container for a few days. Soak a cotton ball in this oil, apply it to the sore nail and wrap it with a bandage. Put a plastic bag on it - so you don't stain the sheets, as this treatment must be done before bed. The course of treatment is 10-15 days.
- Wash your feet well before bed. Soak a cotton ball in 9% vinegar and place it on the nail. Wrap your fingers in film and secure with a Band-Aid. Repeat this process in the morning. Wash your feet one day after such a treatment. Get your nails organized - where to cut, where to clean. Repeat the process a few times on the sole.