Table of Contents
- Introduction to fungal nails (onychomycosis, tinea unguium)
- What other conditions can be mistaken for fungal nails?
- What causes fungal nails, and what are some of the risk factors?
- Are fungal nails contagious?
- What are fungal nail symptoms and signs?
- What tests do health-care professionals use to diagnose fungal nails?
- Who should be treated for fungal nails?
- What specialists treat nail fungus?
- What is the treatment for fungal nails?
- What is the treatment for fungal nails? (Continued)
- Are there home remedies for toenail fungus?
- Are there over-the-counter treatments for toenail fungus?
- Are oral medications for nail fungus toxic?
- What about the cost of oral medications for fungal nails?
- Is it possible to prevent fungal nails?
- What is the prognosis of fungal nails?
- Is it possible to prevent the recurrence of nail fungus?
- Tips for prevention of fungal nails
What causes fungal nails, and what are some of the risk factors?
In normal, healthy people, fungal infections of the nails are most commonly caused by fungus that is caught from moist, wet areas. Communal showers, such as those at a gym or swimming pools, are common sources. Going to nail salons that use inadequate sanitization of instruments (such as clippers, filers, and foot tubs) in addition to living with family members who have fungal nails are also risk factors. Athletes have been proven to be more susceptible to nail fungus. This is presumed to be due to the wearing of tight-fitting, sweaty shoes associated with repetitive trauma to the toenails. Having athlete's foot makes it more likely that the fungus will infect your toenails. Repetitive trauma also weakens the nail, which makes the nail more susceptible to fungal infection.
Elderly people and people with certain underlying disease states are also at higher risk. These include anything that impairs your immune system can make you prone to getting infected with the fungus. These include conditions such as AIDS, diabetes, cancer, psoriasis, or taking any immunosuppressive medications like steroids.
Are fungal nails contagious?
While the fungus must be obtained from someplace, it is not highly contagious. Nail fungus is so common that finding more than one person in a household who has it is hardly more than a coincidence. It can be transmitted from person to person but only with constant intimate contact.