It is obvious that the toenail fungus begins with the growth of fungi. However, one must know why the fungi grow to avoid its growth. Usually, toenail fungus affects the people who are from a lower socioeconomic background, older, male, diabetic, obese or have a weak immune system. If you often go swimming, use public toilets, or use communal bathing facilities, you might be at the risk of getting a fungal infection. Fungal nail infections can be caused by different types of fungi, yeasts (candida) and moulds.
What is a fungus?
A fungus is a primitive organism. It lives in air, soil, plants and water. Some even live on the human body. Of all, half of them are harmful and can cause fungal infection. Most fungi reproduce through tiny spores in the air. The can land on your skin or you could even breathe them. That can be the number one cause why many fungal infections start from skin or lungs.
Who can get a fungal infection?
Well, the answer is – Anyone can! Literally, anyone can get a fungal infection. However, there are certain reasons why some people easily get fungal infections while others don’t. Here are some reasons why some people get a fungal infection.
1. One takes a lot of antibiotics.
2. One has a weak immune system.
3. One has AIDS, Cancer or diabetes.
4. One is older, exposed to fungi and have slower growing nails.
5. One walks barefoot in damp communal areas.
6. One has a history of athlete’s foot.
7. One sweats heavily.
8. One has a minor skin or nail injury.
9. One wears packed footwear all the time.
10. One does not wash and dry your feet regularly.
THEN… That person can be prone to fungal infections very easily.
How does a fungal infection start?
This can be the hardest thing to determine since it may even take years for the infection to actually start and show some symptoms. Sometimes, people can’t even understand if they really have a toenail fungus. The toenail just looks dirty and a bit yellowish at times, but that can’t be a toenail fungal infection always. No matter what the signs are, if you have toenail fungus, your yellowish-brown coloured nail will grow so slowly that you’ll feel it isn’t growing. Hence, whenever you notice the following, visit your doctor:
1. Your toenail becomes thickened.
2. The nails become discoloured – whitish or yellowish-brown.
3. The nails become brittle and crumbly.
4. The shape of the nail changes.
5. A dark colour, caused by debris builds upon your toenail.
6. The toenail and the surrounding skin might smell slightly foul.
A very less number of people report pain in their nails. That’s because they have a severe toenail infection. If the infection becomes severe, one can actually suffer from terrible pain in their feet.
Depending on what type of fungi have grown, you could have different types of infections:
1. Athlete’s foot: As the name suggests, it is related to the foot of an athlete. As they often wear shoes, fungi grow in a warm environment and cause athlete’s foot.
2. Yeast infection: This usually happens in women. The vagina is swollen and women often observe a cottage cheesy discharge. In many other cases, yeast infection happens on the feet as well.
3. Jock itch: This is another common fungal infection of the skin. The genitals of both men and women can be itchy if they have jock itch.
4. Ringworm: This is skin infection caused by the fungus that lives on the dead tissues of skin, hair, and nails. It can cause both athlete’s foot and jock itch. It is very easy to notice because of its ring-like shape.
When to start the treatment?
Fungal infections are very common these days. Many people get toenail fungus infection, however, they fail to recognize it. As soon as you see discolouration of your toenail, consult your doctor. Since discolouration of the toenail is the most common sign of a fungal infection, you should consider it a warning. If you fail to understand the first few signs of the infection, the fungi can enter the bloodstream and cause a deadly infection. It is very easy to ignore toenail fungus at first because it doesn’t pain or itch at all. But if you leave it untreated, it can grow to an extent that you might not be able to walk easily. The pain becomes severe with the severity of the infection.
In some cases, treatment is not required if the infection is minor. Doctors check if the infection is minor or major by looking at how discoloured the toenail is. If the infection is severe, the doctor might prescribe some antibiotics or antifungal medicines. These medicines are very strong and can even cause side-effects. You can also try using essential oils to treat your fungal infection.
Rather than having a toenail fungus, why not take care of yourself? Before it grows worse, take effective measures because a stitch in time saves nine.