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Infected Nail – What is it likely to be?

Finger nails and to a lesser extent, toe-nails come into contact with hundreds of different types of bacteria in any given day. In addition, hands that are exposed to dishwater, general cleaning agents and constant wet, warm environments (such as baking) are more vulnerable to certain organisms that may find these conditions favourable, namely, Fungus.

An infected nail is most likely to have some form of Onychomycosis which is the medical term of fungal infections of the nail. It is such a common problem with 50% of infected nails that it is responsible for half of nail problems and when left untreated, abnormalities. The conditions that lead to an infected nail can cause both toe and finger nails to be affected.

Generally the symptoms include a cloudy appearance or yellow, thickening. Nails may begin to crumble away from the top, dipping in the middle of the finger nail. The nail may also come away from the actual finger nail bed. Although this sounds horrific, it is usually a slow and painless experience, unless the disease has been left untreated for a long time.

Sometimes, fungus which may have developed somewhere else in the body can manifest itself in the form of legions under the fingernails. This basically means that it is not the nails itself that is infected, but rather, some kind of fungal infection is prevalent in the body. These are known as Dermatophytids.

Many people experience embarrassment and general social discomfort due to the disease. This is unnecessary as treatment is fairly affordable and inexpensive. In fact, the appearance need only last as long as the healed part of the nail takes to grow out properly, which can be anything from two to six weeks.

The main causes of any fungal infected nail range from Candida (a fungal spore that is already present in the body but only flairs up when the body’s defenses are in a weakened state such antibiotic treatment or pregnancy) to ringworm. Certain types of moulds may also attack the nails of people over the age of 60 who are lacking in natural defenses to stave them off.

The fact that mould may be found in the finger nail is a good indication of various parts of the body failing to defend itself effectively. Although treatment of the nail may be simple, it is also a good idea to investigate the causes, as there may be other parts of the body infected. If left untreated for too long, it may reach a point where mere symptomatic treatment will no longer work.

There are a lot of pharmacological treatments available for infected nails. The important thing however is to combine the transparent nail paint treatments with the topical creams. These must be continuously applied daily for at least a year to ensure proper treatment. These treatments are available at most pharmacies as over-the-counter medication and do not need a doctors’ prescription.

Healthy nails take quick action, proper moisturizing and drying. It is important to especially wash them after having frequented public rest rooms or having spent an extended period outdoors, i.e. Camping.

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