When to Seek Professional Help for Nail Fungal Infection: Signs and Recommendations

Are you tired of dealing with unsightly, thick, and brittle nails? Do you cringe at thinking of wearing open-toed shoes or showing off your nails in public? If so, you’re not alone. Nail fungus is a widespread issue that plagues countless individuals, causing embarrassment and discomfort.

But fear not! There’s no need to hide your nails or suffer in silence. We understand the frustration and pain of nail fungus, so we’re here to provide valuable insights and recommendations. In this blog post, we’re diving deep into nail fungus, exploring its signs and symptoms and, most importantly, effective treatments and recommendations. Whether you’re just starting to notice subtle changes or battling nail fungus for what feels like an eternity, we’ve got you covered. Nail fungal Infection can be a real pain if you don’t care for it. But no worries, we’ve got you covered in this section! We will explain everything you need about nail fungus and when to ask for help. Trust us; you don’t want to miss these critical points.

What is Nail Fungus?

Nail fungus, known as onychomycosis [3], is a fungal nail infection. It’s a common condition that affects many people worldwide. The infection usually starts as a white or yellow spot under the nail [4], and as it spreads deeper, it causes discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nail. Nail fungus can affect one or several nails at once and can be both unsightly and painful.

Mild cases of nail fungus may not need treatment, and self-care steps such as maintaining good nail hygiene and using over-the-counter medications may help with pain and thickened nails. However, more severe cases may require medical attention from an experienced professional or podiatrist. It’s also important to note that nail fungus often comes back even with treatment.

Signs of Nail Fungus

It’s essential to be aware that a fungal nail infection may not cause any noticeable symptoms at first. However, over time, the infection can cause various signs that indicate a problem, like: 

  • Discoloration of the nail, which may appear yellow, white, or brown. 
  • The nail may thicken and become distorted, making it difficult to trim or shape properly.
  • Your nails are more brittle or crumbly than usual and may break off easily.
  • The skin nearby may become infected as well. This can cause the skin to become cracked, red, and swollen. 

If you have a fungal infection in your nails, you may also experience pain and discomfort, especially when walking or wearing shoes. These signs may be mild initially, but they can worsen if left untreated.

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s essential to take action. Don’t ignore the problem, as it won’t go away. 

Complications of Untreated Nail Fungus

Nail fungus may not seem like a big deal at first, but if left untreated, it can lead to some severe complications that include:

  • It can spread the fungus to other nails or even to other parts of the body. This can lead to more severe infection and make treatment more difficult.
  • It can cause the nail to become thick and discolored. This can be both unsightly and uncomfortable, making it difficult to wear shoes. Sometimes, the nail may become deformed, making walking or using the affected hand painful.

  • Poor nail hygiene can also be a result of untreated nail fungus. Since the infected nail can be difficult to clean, bacteria can grow and cause additional infections. This can further complicate treatment and make it more challenging to recover fully.
  • Fungal infections can affect people with weakened immune systems, such as diabetes or HIV. For these individuals, untreated nail fungus can lead to more severe infections that are harder to treat.

Seeking treatment for nail fungus as soon as possible is essential to avoid these complications. In some cases, this may involve a professional who can provide a more effective treatment plan, such as Laser treatment, than over-the-counter options. 

Over-the-Counter Treatments for Nail Fungus

Now that you know about nail fungus, let’s discuss how to treat it! If you think you have nail fungus, the first step is to try some treatments you can find at the store. These treatments, like creams and sprays, can be beneficial for mild cases of nail fungus. They have unique ingredients that fight against the fungus on your nail, but here’s the thing, these treatments can take a while to work, maybe even a few months. And they might only work for some. So, be patient and give it some time.

You can also try – an antifungal nail polish called ciclopirox (Penlac) [2]. that has medicine in it. You only have to paint it on your affected nail like regular polish. It helps to stop the fungus from spreading. Like the other treatments, this one can also take a while to show results.

But remember, sometimes, over-the-counter treatments might not be enough to eliminate the fungus. If your nail’s fungal infection is nasty, you must see a doctor or a particular foot doctor called a podiatrist. They can help you professionally and suggest other options to treat your nail fungus.

Note: If you’re going to try any treatments from the store, make sure to talk to a grown-up or a healthcare professional first. They can help you choose the proper treatment for you. 

When to Seek Professional Help for Nail Fungus

Sometimes, when you have nail fungus, asking a particular doctor for help is a good idea. Here are some signs that show it’s time to visit the doctor:

  • If the fungus has spread to many nails or is affecting where new nails grow.
  • When the nail becomes super thick and has strange colors, making it hard to cut or clean.
  • If you have diabetes or another condition that makes your body not work as well.
  • When the fungal infection hurts your nail or makes you feel embarrassed.
  • If the treatments you find at the store don’t make it better even after trying for a few weeks.

When you go to the doctor, they will look at your nail and maybe take a little piece to check. The doctor might suggest different treatments, like certain medicines you eat or put on your nail, depending on how bad it is. But you know what’s cool? They might even talk to you about laser therapy.

Laser therapy is a super calm treatment that uses a special kind of light to fight the fungus[5]. It’s like a superhero laser that can make the bad stuff go away! The laser light is harmless, so it doesn’t hurt you. Most people can say goodbye to their nail fungus with just one or two laser treatments. Isn’t that amazing?

But remember, the health care professional will know the best treatment for you. They might also suggest removing the bad nail in terrible cases. Listening carefully to what they say and doing what they tell you is essential. Sometimes, the treatments take a while to work. Also, remember to keep your feet clean and not share your infection with others.

Recommendations for Treating Nail Fungus with a Professional

If you need exceptional help treating your nail fungus, here are some essential things to know:

  • Find a healthcare professional who knows a lot about nail fungus. They can help you get better. Look for good reviews about them online.
  • They will ask you questions about your nail fungus. They want to know how long you’ve had it, what you tried before, and how it makes you feel.
  • They will look closely at your nails and might take a tiny piece to check in a lab. They want to see what kind of fungus it is.
  • Treating nail fungus takes time. You might need to go to the healthcare professional a few times. They might suggest a unique laser treatment to help you.
  • It’s essential to do what the healthcare professional tells you. Take your medicine and follow their instructions. They might want to see you again to see if you’re improving.
  • While you’re treating your nail fungus, keep your feet clean and dry. Wear clean socks and shoes, and don’t walk barefoot where many people go.

Treating nail fungus takes time, and you must work with a healthcare professional. Following their instructions and caring for your feet, you can make your nails healthy and beautiful again.

Prevention of Nail Fungus

To keep your nails healthy and fungus-free, your nail hygiene must be taken care of. Here are some essential things to remember:

  • Keep your nails clean and dry. If your hands or feet get sweaty, you can use special powder to keep them dry [1].
  • Keep your nail clippers and other nail tools private from others. Sharing them can spread the fungus.
  • Wear special shoes to protect your feet from germs on the floor when you go to swimming pools or showers.
  • Choose shoes that fit well and let your feet breathe. Some shoes made of strange materials can make your nails get fungus easier.
  • Be careful with tight socks or stockings. They can make your feet wet and give a lovely home for the fungus to grow.
  • When you go to a nail salon, make sure they clean their tools. You can even bring your nail tools if you want.

Youu can ensure your nails stay healthy and strong by taking care of your nail hygiene. But if you see any signs of nail fungus, tell a grown-up immediately. They will take you to a particular doctor who knows how to help. Remember, the sooner you get help, the better it will be!

Conclusion

If you think you have nail fungus, quickly acting is essential. Nail fungus can hurt your nails and cause other problems if you don’t treat it. Some treatments from the store can help, but it’s time to go to a healthcare professional if they don’t work. They can give you medicine to eat or use a special laser to make the fungus go away. It’s also essential to keep your feet clean and dry, wear good shoes, and not walk barefoot in places where lots of people go. Getting help and caring for your feet can beat the fungus and stop it from returning.

FAQs

  1. When should I visit the doctor for a fungal nail infection?

If your nail looks brown or black, hurts a lot, or starts to come off from your finger or toe, it could be a sign of a nasty fungal infection. It’s essential to tell a grownup and go to the doctor immediately. They can help you and make sure it doesn’t get worse.

  1. Which doctor treats nail fungus?

A dermatologist will examine your nails and the surrounding skin if you have nail fungus.

  1. What kills toe fungus the fastest?

If you want to get rid of the nail infection quickly, toenail laser treatment is the way to go. It’s a special treatment that uses lasers to kill the tiny organisms causing the infection under your nail. The best part is that it doesn’t harm your nail itself. With just a few laser treatments, the infection can be completely gone.

References:

[1]https://www.nivea.com.au/advice/skin/how-to-stop-sweaty-hands

[2]https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353300

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/nail-infections.htm

[4]https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/symptoms-causes/syc-20353294

[5]https://health.usf.edu/care/dermatology/services-specialties/cosmetics/nail-fungus

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Sabina Gordon

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