Fungus plays an ever-present role in our environment. It is found living in water, air, soil and even on our bodies. There are 100.000 species of fungus. In a recent study done by Dr. Francis Collins, it was discovered that there were over 80 genera of fungus found on the feet alone.
According to WebMD, “A fungal nail infection occurs when a fungus attacks a fingernail, a toenail, or the skin under the nail, called the nail bed. Fungi (plural of fungus) can attack your nails through small cuts in the skin around your nail or through the opening between your nail and nail bed….If you are healthy, a fungal nail infection probably won’t cause serious problems. But it may look bad, hurt, or damage your nail or nail bed.
A fungal nail infection could lead to more serious problems if you have diabetes or a weak immune system. Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat a nail infection if you have one of these problems.”
There are two main groups:
The genus Candida includes about 154 species. Six of them are more frequently isolated in human infections.
Dermatophytes are fungi that require keratin for growth so they only live in dead tissue, such as your nails and dead skin cells. Dermatophyte infections of the skin can cause a round, scaly rash that may also have blisters.
Most people don’t know they have fungus until a nail gets to the stage where it is already causing damage. At first, you might notice that there is no shine to the nail and then it might thicken, become crumbly, brittle or ragged. You may have what is called Onychomycosis. The next stage might have the nail separating from the nail bed. This condition is called Onycholysis.
According to Dr. Henry Collins, anatomy, medical terminology, physiology and pathophysiology expert, “it is estimated that 2-18% of the worldwide population has some form of toenail fungus.”
The dermatophytes type can be spread from person to person, from household items such as clothing, towels and bedding. Walking barefoot in wet area or work that involves keeping your hands wet, wearing work boots where you sweat a lot – these are all conditions that can contribute to Dermatophyte infections. The skin has a natural mechanism of protection, but that protection can be compromised by trauma, irritation or maceration.
Several other possible causes may be improper cutting of cuticles and nails, trauma from accidents, certain medication, and an iron deficiency.
Yes. Certain fungal infections can spread between people from contact of the infected area but most develop from naturally instances on the human body or in the environment from animals, clothes, fabric and soil.
Along with good health practices, good hygiene is the key to preventing fungal infections.
• Keep your fingernails and toenails on the short side and keep them clean.
• Maintain a clean tub and shower at home.
• Wear sandals or flip flops if you have to use a public shower such as in your gym or health club.
• If you have sweaty feet or sweat during exercise, wear shoes with plenty of ventilation and remove your socks and shoes promptly.
• If you have an open cut keep it protected and clean as this is an entry point for fungus and bacteria.
• Make sure your salon is reputable if you get manicures and pedicures.
There are numerous prescription drugs on the market that you can obtain from your doctor. For those who are looking for a more natural approach, seek out anti-fungal products that use natural ingredients. A key ingredient amongst these that are highly effective are those formulated with grapefruit seed pulp and extracts.
Using proven natural remedies, paired with a healthy lifestyle and precaution, is the best way to treat and prevent future issues.
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