Each of us can catch a fungus. This is an infectious disease transmitted from a sick person to a healthy person and usually affects the nails and skin. If the nail plate has changed, it has started to collapse, it has changed color, it means that an infection has occurred and onychomycosis has developed. It affects 20% of the world's adult population.
Causes of the occurrence
Most people have no idea what onychomycosis is and how dangerous it is. Pathogenic microorganisms, penetrating the structure of the nail, modify it. In addition to an aesthetic problem, mushrooms are capable of poisoning the whole body with toxins. This leads to allergic reactions, decreased protective functions of the body and diseases of Organs internal organs.
Nail fungus can only be infected under favorable conditions. Normally, the skin has an acidic environment, which prevents the penetration of various infections. If your pH has for some reason changed to alkaline, the reproduction and growth of pathogenic organisms increases dramatically.
A humid environment also promotes infections. A person can be infected if personal hygiene is not observed or simple rules of behavior in public places. Dead scales on the patient's skin or nail are a source of infection.The causes of nail fungus can be as follows:
- When visiting beaches, saunas, baths, water parks, showers, swimming pools, fitness centers, there is a risk of infection. Walking barefoot on a damp surface and showing cracks or sores on the legs, the chance of "catching" the fungus on the feet is very high.
- Tight and poorly adjusted shoes, synthetic stockings and tights increase the perspiration of the feet, which leads to a change in the acid-base balance of the skin. Its protective functions are reduced, which can lead to the appearance and spread of the fungus.
- Weakened immunity, prolonged use of antibiotics, corticosteroids, antibacterial therapy contribute to the infection of onychomycosis.
- Diabetes mellitus in the elderly is a common cause of the disease.
- In case of contact with shoes infected with the fungus, socks, towels, cloths, manicure sets and other personal accessories of the patient, the infection occurs in 90% of the cases.
The infection occurs first in a small area of the nail, usually at the edge. Then, the inflammatory process increases and spreads to other areas or penetrates more deeply into the nail plate. The sooner nail fungus is found, the easier it will be to cure. Therefore, at the first sign, treatment should be started immediately.
How the disease manifests
Not only a specialist, but also the patient himself can determine onychomycosis in a person. The main signs of nail fungus are as follows:
- the nail plate changes color from light yellow to black. The color depends on the type of fungus that infected the nails;
- the shape and contour of the nail plate are transformed;
- the nail crumbles, exfoliates, thickens, the natural shine disappears;
- bad smell, unpleasant, painful sensations at the fingertips, near the nail plate.
It is important to identify the disease in time to prevent it from spreading to the skin of the feet and other parts of the toes. The doctor will be able to correctly assess the degree of fungal infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
There are 3 stages of the fungus:
- There are no obvious signs, such as shape change, thickening of the stratum corneum, cracking. It is very difficult to identify the disease during this period. But the appearance of almost imperceptible stains on the surface of the nail plate, a slight change in the tone of the stratum corneum, may alert you.
- There are clear signs of nail fungus. The color of the nail surface changes from pink to yellow or brown, the natural shine and smoothness disappear. The lateral edges of the nails are thickened, crumbled, deformed.
- It is considered a neglected form, in which the infection covers the entire surface of the cornea. It thickens, there is an increase in keratinocytes, it increases fragility. Cutting this nail is very problematic, its edges are folded inwards and grow on the skin of the fingers, causing pain to the patient when walking.
Complications after stage 3 are characterized by the exfoliation of keratinocytes from the growth bed. This condition is accompanied by severe pain and an unpleasant odor. The nail fungus incubation period is 3 weeks, after which it is already possible to diagnose the disease and start antifungal therapy.
Types of nail fungus
In onychomycosis, several types of fungi are diagnosed.
- Dermatophytes usually appear as turbidity of the nail platinum. Yellow spots are formed at the edges or in the center. Over time, the yellowish edge departs from the stratum corneum. Longitudinal streaks are sometimes seen along the damaged area.
- The yeast fungus alters the structure of the nail, deforming it. The nail plate becomes irregular, waves appear, ridges, after a while the color of the nail takes on a yellowish tone and can be left behind. At the same time, nail rollers can become infected and thicken.
- Mold is detected in people with weakened immunity during long-term drug therapy. It is manifested by a change in the color palette of the nail. At first it is yellow, then the tone changes, and it can be greenish, bluish and even black. In this case, the treatment is the shortest and takes 1 to 1, 5 months, since the mold does not penetrate deeply into the nail plate, but remains only on the surface.
Effective infection control techniques
How to get rid of nail fungus quickly and permanently worries many patients. The treatment of onychomycosis in the early stages does not last long. It can be treated with topical antifungal agents. They spread deeply into the stratum corneum and inhibit the growth and reproduction of pathogenic fungi. This treatment will be effective if a small area of the nail plate is affected, no more than 1/3.
Nail fungus varnishes have positive healing properties. They have a liquid texture, are easy to apply and penetrate small cracks in the nail. When applied, the varnish is absorbed instantly and dries, forming a durable film. It prevents oxygen from entering the nail, interrupting the growth and reproduction of the fungus.
Must be applied once a day. It is problematic to remove varnish from the surface of the nail plate, which effectively affects the infection.
Antifungals, creams and ointments can also be used. They are more effective compared to varnishes and are used to detect stage 2 of the disease. Before applying the cream, it is necessary to remove the damaged surface of the nail plate.
Apply a cream or ointment twice a day and cover the affected area with a small amount. To obtain the maximum effect after applying the cream, it is necessary to seal the infected area with a plaster.
The methods of treating onychomycosis depend on the degree of neglect and the form identified. It occurs only under the supervision of a doctor, as all medications for yeast infections are highly toxic. The specialist examines the patient and takes a small piece of the nail for laboratory research to determine the type of fungus. In the event that the disease has captured the entire platinum of the nail and the fungus has progressed for more than a year, a complex treatment is prescribed, which includes the local and internal use of medicines.
Oral systemic antibiotics have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of fungal infections. These drugs, in combination with ointments, deprive the fungus of the opportunity to grow deep in the nail and prevent the growth of colonies. This type of treatment is long lasting and lasts about a year.
Medicine does not stop, effective methods are constantly developed and implemented in the fight against fungal diseases. In 2010, new methods for the treatment of onychomycosis emerged. Photodynamic treatment of nail plates infected with a fungus and laser treatment on special "nail" lasers in combination with antimicrobial agents provide a positive tangible effect and reduce healing time.
The peculiarity of laser therapy is that the fungus is exposed to temperatures up to 70 degrees, in which the spores of the fungus die, and the very source of the disease's spread is the mycelium.
The laser treatment does not affect the healthy skin around the nail, it acts exclusively on fungal organisms that die over several sessions.
Traditional medicine in the treatment of fungi
You can try to deal with the disease at home. Treatment should start with soap and soda baths, which soften the nail plate. It must be cleaned of the stratum corneum with a manicure file. This bath and cleaning must be carried out once a week, for 6 months. The affected area should be treated with tea tree oil. To enhance the therapeutic effect, the infected nail plate can be glued with adhesive tape, after placing a tampon soaked in equal proportions with lavender and tea oils.
Traditional methods of treating nail fungus are varied and most of the times have a positive and rapid result, as long as the disease is in its early stages.Among the most effective are:
- Treatment of affected areas with hydrogen peroxide. You should moisten your nails well cooked 2 to 3 times a day with a cotton swab moistened with hydrogen peroxide. After a few days, the nail plate will become much softer and can be cut with nail scissors.
- The use of celandine in folk medicine has proven its effectiveness in the treatment of skin diseases, as well as in fungal infections of different etiologies. Iodinol is added to dry crushed celandine (purchased from the pharmacy). These two components are re-soaked carefully and the resulting mixture is applied to the affected area. The nail is wrapped in plastic wrap and left overnight. To cure stage 1-2 of the fungus, it is sufficient to perform 3-5 such procedures.
- Propolis is considered an effective remedy for fungi. The tincture of propolis 20% bought in a pharmacy is applied to the affected area in the form of a compress. A cotton swab moistened with medicine is applied to the nail plate and sealed with a plaster. Over time, the affected nail will displace the healthy one.
- The golden mustache is an incredible plant that helps with various diseases. When treating a fungus, it is necessary to attach a softened leaf of a plant to a steamed nail and leave it overnight under a film. In the morning, you should cut the softened part as much as possible, down to the root. It is necessary to apply the golden mustache only on the nail plate area, without touching the surrounding skin, to avoid burns. Soon the nail will recover and it will be healthy and strong.
- If nail fungus has infected your hands, you can remove it with tar soap. It is necessary to wash your hands thoroughly with it, paying special attention to the affected areas. Next, you need to dip your nails in a highly concentrated salt solution and bandage them overnight. The positive effect will come after a week.
The treatment of nail fungus is a long process. Regardless of the therapy you choose, you must be patient and regularly use the drugs prescribed by your doctor. Nor should preventive measures be taken to prevent infection again.
Only a doctor decides how to treat the nail fungus after a thorough examination of the patient and after the results of laboratory tests. To prevent reinfection by the fungus, it is necessary to use preventive drugs. Monitor the condition of nails and skin, if the first signs of the disease are detected, contact a specialist immediately.Remember that, in the early stages, the fungus heals quickly and effectively.