Looking down and realizing there's something wrong with your toe can be pretty alarming. The nail might appear yellow and opaque, and might even be thicker and more brittle than the other nails. Maybe it doesn't even seem that different from your other nails, but it is definitely different. It's tempting to just leave it alone for awhile and hope your body will handle it. Slowly but surely, though, it gets worse, and you know something will have to be done.
One of the worst parts of nail fungus is that it can be pretty embarrassing, too. The yellow color becomes more pronounced and appears to take over the whole nail. The nail might become brittle and chip -- looking odd or deformed. You're able to hide it most of the time, but if it's summer and you end up at the pool or beach, what will people think? Will they even notice? It can all be pretty overwhelming!
But the good news is -- it's OK! Nail fungus is extremely common, and almost everyone deals with it at one point or another. In fact, nail fungus accounts for nearly 30% of all skin infections, and it's estimated that upwards of 15 or 20% of the population has nail fungus. Sure it's annoying and you'll want to hide it, but the important thing to remember is that it's common and treatable. So what do you do when you see fungus developing on your nail? Don't avoid it...
Getting nail fungus doesn't have to be a big deal, but how you handle it is.The longer you wait to deal with a fungal nail infection, the more difficult it will be to cure. Here are some tips for taking action and dealing with your nail fungus:
1) Start using a topical antifungal treatment
Start topical treatment right away and see a doctor if necessary. There are powerful topical antifungal treatments available on the market, and getting started right away will lead to quicker success. We always recommend choosing a topical antifungal treatment that uses all-natural ingredients because many of the synthetic options use chemicals that are harsh or bad for the skin, and they're usually not as effective anyway. Natural oils, like eucalyptus, have been proven effective in treating fungus, and have been used for centuries, so there's no reason not to go natural when you're choosing what treatment to try.
2) Be diligent with treatment
When it comes to beating back a fungal nail infection, you need to stay diligent with your treatment regimen. Most topicals will call for applying the treatment twice a day, and it's important to follow these directions throughout the treatment. In order to completely beat the nail fungus, you not only need to kill the fungus and keep it from spreading, but you need to allow the body to regenerate a healthy nail. Since nails usually take months to grow it, it's important to continue treatment until the healthy nail completely replaces the fungal nail, to avoid spreading the fungus to healthy parts of the nail.
3) Maintain good hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is important in treating nail fungus, because fungus can easily grow and spread. The last thing you want is for the fungus on one nail to spread to the others. Here are some hygiene tips to follow:
- Scrub feet & in the shower every day
- Make sure feet are dry before putting socks or shoes on
- Let feet air out whenever possible
- Use spray or powder antifungals in footwear
- Clean shower and tub regularly and thoroughly
- Keep nails short (not too short) and tidy
4) Be patient!
Unfortunately, treating nail fungus requires some patience. Because of the nature of the infection and its difficulty to treat, even great treatments take time to cure, so the sooner you can come to terms with the fact that there isn't an overnight cure, the easier the process will be to handle.
5) If treatment doesn't progress, consult a doctor
It takes time for nail fungus to cure, but you should start to see progress after a few months. If treatment isn't progressing, consider consulting a doctor or changing treatment strategies. Nail fungus comes in many different forms, so there's no "one size fits all" treatment that works for everyone.
Getting nail fungus is nothing to get worked up about. Almost everyone gets nail fungus in their life, so it's nothing strange or out of the ordinary, but how you handle it can significantly impact the effects it has on you. Waiting and hoping it goes away generally leads to more problems, and can cause the infection to last much longer than necessary. So if you notice your nail looking yellow, opaque, and unhealthy, don't do the fungus any favors, start taking care of it immediately and get back your healthy nails!