Cut your finger nails every fortnight and toe nails once in three weeks in order to maintain good hygiene and prevent the nails from collecting dirt and dampness. This is also a good way to prevent Onychomycosis, a fungal nail infection, say health experts.
Fungal nail infections can affect a part or the whole nail, including the nail plate, nail bed and root. “The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened and distorted over time. The toenails are more frequently affected than the fingernails,” says Dr Sudheendra Udbalker, consultant dermatologist, Fortis Hospital.
The condition can be very painful and may require six months to one year to treat if the infection becomes severe.
Agreeing with Dr Sudheendra, Dr Gangadharan from MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital’s AYUSH Care Centre says, “Several factors increase the risk of a fungal nail infection developing and these include wearing shoes that cause your feet to get hot and sweaty, being in a humid environment, regular damage to the nail or skin, poor health or certain chronic problems such as diabetes or psoriasis.
The most common sign of a fungal nail infection is the nail becoming thickened and discoloured. The nail can turn white, black, yellow or even green. A fungal nail infection is usually painless at first, and in most cases it won’t cause any further complications. But if the infection isn’t treated, it may cause pain and discomfort, although this is rare.
If you have pain in the affected toenail, it can eventually make walking and wearing shoes difficult. You may have problems writing if your fingernails are affected.
As the infection progresses the nail can become brittle, with pieces of it breaking off and coming away from the toe or finger completely. If left untreated, the skin around the nail can sometimes become inflamed and painful. White or yellow patches may also be visible on the nailbed or you may have scaly skin next to the nail.
Dr Gangadharan prescribes some home remedies and simple treatments to treat fungal nail infection
- Make a paste by using coconut oil mixed with turmeric and apply it with a limestone.
- Cut open lemon into twohalves and the keep the in fected finger in the lemon to bring down the infection.
- Boil neem leaves and the aragwadha tree bark and use the water to wash the infected area. This simple technique can help protect fingers from infection.