What Is White Toenail Fungus, And How Do You Get Rid Of It?
White toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a fungal infection that makes the nail turn dry and white. The fungus may cause the nail to crumble, and pain and a foul odor may be present. A diagnosis may be made by a visual inspection of the toes or by a lab test ordered by a doctor.
What Causes White Toenail Fungus?
Toenail fungus can be caused by a variety of fungi and are present in warm, moist environments. Onychomycosis feeds on the tissues of keratin found in toenails and is highly contagious to other toes. Common causes include:
- Wearing shoes or socks that are too tight, damp, or ill fitted
- Inadequate hygiene
- Painting toenails
- Showering in a public facility
- Poor circulation or immune systems compromised by HIV or diabetes
- Treatment is necessary to cure toenail fungus. If the toenail falls off, the fungi may remain in the skin and affect new growth.
How to Prevent White Toenail Fungus
Steps can be taken to prevent an infection or re-infection from occurring including:
- Wear properly fitted shoes
- Avoid damp or sweaty socks and shoes
- Wear shower shoes if using a public shower
- Do not share toenail clippers with others and disinfect all tools before and after use
- Do not wear nail polish regularly
The Best White Toenail Fungus Treatment
To keep white or yellow toenail fungus from spreading to other toes, treatment is necessary. A doctor may remove as much of the nail as possible. An antifungal paste containing bifonazole is applied to the area until the infection disappears. Serious infections may be treated orally with an antifungal medication. A home application of tea tree oil may be beneficial.
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