If you have a white or yellow dot on the tip of the finger nail or thumb nail, it could be nail fungus or in medical language is called onychomycosis. If the infection spreads, the nails can change color, thicken, and crumble at the edges.
Nail fungus easily occurs in warm and humid climates. This disease is also more common in people with immune disorders such as those with diabetes, cancer, and HIV infection. This infection itself can spread throughout the nail, including the foundation, plates, and root of the nail.
Recognize the Causes of Nail Fungus
The cause of this nail disease is dermatophyte fungi. In addition, yeast fungus (Candida) is sometimes also responsible for the onychomycosis. When your nails are warm and moist, they will gladly make your nails their habitat.
Nail fungus often attacks toenails rather than fingers. This is because ordinary toes are in conditions that make mold grow easily, such as dark, warm, and damp. In addition, nail fungus is also more likely to occur in people with problems with blood flow in the legs.
Some things that affect the ease with which nail fungus attacks are:
- Having damage to the skin or nails.
- Being in a humid environment.
- Wear shoes that make feet feel hot and sweaty.
- Share towels with others.
- Routine use cosmetics on nails or artificial nails.
- Wash your hands frequently or come into contact with water for a long time.
- Have certain diseases, such as diabetes, psoriasis, or weakness of the immune system.
- Often walk barefoot.
How to treat it?
There are several ways that doctors can do to deal with your nail fungus. Among them:
Prescribe oral antifungal drugs
Giving medicine in the form of cream
Giving medicine in the form of nail polish
Nail extraction surgery
To eradicate the fungus that causes nail fungus, the doctor will give antifungal drugs. The process of healing nail fungus with this type of drug usually takes about four months. That time is needed to get nails that are free of mold and grow perfectly.
Another treatment that can be done is to use an antifungal cream or ointment. Its use is done by applying it to an infected nail. Make sure the nails are soaked and thinned before the cream is applied. Nail thinning is needed so that antifungal creams more easily penetrate the nail layers, making it easier to remove nail fungus.
Other medications your doctor may prescribe are nail polish that has antifungal properties. This antifungal nail polish is called ciclopirox. The purpose is to coat the nails and skin around an infected nail. At the beginning of use, nail polish will be left for seven days before cleaning with alcohol. Furthermore, the use of antifungal nail polish must be done every day for a year, until the fungus-free nails are actually obtained.
Removal of nails infected with fungus will be recommended by the doctor if it has caused unbearable pain. With the removal of the infected nail, the new nail will then grow in the same place. The healing process with this method can take a year until new nails grow perfectly. And this process requires a minor surgical procedure (minor surgery).
One modern method that can be done, namely using laser therapy. Several recent studies have shown that the use of laser therapy is effective in treating nail fungus. However, this type of treatment is quite expensive and is not yet commonly done as a method of handling nail fungus in general.
Although not a serious disease, nail fungus takes a long time to treat. At least, it takes a minimum of about two to four months for you to be free of nail fungus. In addition, even though you have taken care and treatment, nail fungus may come back if you do not maintain nail hygiene properly.
Some prevention methods to minimize nail fungus infection include:
- Make sure your feet and hands stay dry. Because dry skin and nails tend not to be easily infected by nail fungus.
- Don’t cut your nails too short, because they can cause injury to your nails. Keep the nail clipper clean so that fungus does not grow on it.
- Use dry socks, and replace them regularly. Do not wait to get damp or wet.
- Choose footwear that is not narrow and can make your feet “breathe”, for example flip flops. For shoes, you can choose those made from leather or canvas.
- Avoid walking without using footwear in public places.
Nail fungus can not be considered trivial because it can be very painful. Of course, this infection can be prevented if you always keep your toenails and hands clean. If nail fungus has already grown, consult a dermatologist to get the appropriate treatment.