How to Prevent and Reverse a Toenail Fungal Infection?

How to Prevent and Reverse a Toenail Fungal Infection?

Anyone who prefers wearing open-toed footwear in the summer knows how satisfying it is to have toenails that appear healthy. But maintaining healthy toenails isn't just for beauty purposes. You might have noticed an individual with a blackish toenail. After a while, you may see the formation of fungus around the person's toenail. This is similar to the fungus that grows on moist walls. 

More than 50% of the people in India suffer from Toenail Fungal Infections. [1] 

Can a toenail fungal infection be dangerous?  

Yes, if left untreated it can cause chronic complications. If you or someone you know is suffering from fungal infections of the toenail, I have got some tips for you that can help you prevent and kill the fungal infection. The good news is that you can treat your toenail fungus with a combination of home treatments. Continue reading to learn more!  

 

 

What is Toenail Fungal Infection? 

Toenail fungus is a common problem that affects the toes. The fungus infects the area between the toe and the toe bed (tissue directly beneath the toenail), resulting in thick yellow or brown toenails. This is usually caused by a cut or crack in your toe. It is extremely infectious and can quickly spread to additional toes. [2] 

Since toenail fungal infections are often painless, people are frequently unaware of a problem unless they inspect their feet on a regular basis.  

If your blood flow has been compromised, you should protect your toes even more because you will have difficulty healing. You can take a supplement for the heart in order to improve your blood flow. Additionally, when you have a wound, you can have fungal skin infections, which could also lead to a bacterial infection if the skin begins to deteriorate. 

What Causes Toenail Fungal Infection? 

A toenail infection is caused by tiny, microscopic organisms known as fungi (plural of fungus). Many people contract the fungus through skin-to-skin contact with a person who has a fungal illness, such as an athlete's foot or ringworm. 

Walking barefoot in a warm, wet place, such as the edge of the pool or locker room, is another typical way to obtain a fungal nail infection. Warm, moist environments are ideal for these fungi. 

Sharing a contaminated nail clipper or towel can potentially lead to a fungal nail infection. However, you do not need to catch it from someone. It is possible to get it if your nails are usually moist or if you frequently wear sweaty shoes and socks. 

Toenail Fungal Infection Symptoms 

 

It is important to get professional assistance when recognizing or diagnosing foot infections, however, toenail fungal infections are commonly identified by the following symptoms: 

  • Nails that are discoloured and brittle.
  • Nails become sensitive and painful.
  • An unpleasant odour from the foot.
  • White spots and yellow stripes on the nail.
  • Nails can grow extremely hard or extremely weak.
  • Dust accumulates beneath the nail.
  • The surface of the nail is chalky. 

How to Treat Toenail Fungal Infection at Home? 

     1. Sunlight  

Fungus grows mainly in dark, moist conditions and cannot survive in direct sunlight. The sun's UV-B rays are very effective against fungus and bacteria, and if you have a common and severe nail illness like toenail fungus, a daily dosage of sunlight between the hours of 10am and 2pm when UV-B rays are strongest, could eventually solve your condition. Nail fungus is a difficult problem to treat since it dwells deep beneath the nail rather than on the surface, with the fungus growing off as a new nail grows in.  

The treatment you are using to heal your nail fungus requires some help, and regular exposure to sunshine on the feet is the ideal rescue approach. [3]  

     2. Avoid Antibiotics and Keep Your Gut Healthy  

When you take antibiotics for a long time, they can kill the good bacterial colony in your gut. So, it is essential for you to maintain a healthy gut to fight off the fungal infection internally. You can consume probiotic foods like yoghurt, dosa, and idli to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Yoghurt and kefir's advantages include improved immune system function and intestinal health by boosting your body's defence mechanisms. You should also take a high-quality probiotic supplement to boost the healing process. 

You can also watch my video here where I am discussing how to keep your gut healthy.  

     3. Vinegar

 

One of the most common home cures for toenail fungus is a vinegar foot wash. This is due to the vinegar solution's antibacterial characteristics, which can also prevent future fungal infections. [4]  

How to Use 

You Will Require 

  • A half-cup of vinegar
  • 2–3 cups water
  • A small tub 

What You Must Do 

  • Add all of the above ingredients to a small tub.
  • Soak your feet for around 20 minutes in this solution or use a brush to scrub off the infected area. 

How Often Should You Do This? 

  • Do this once a day. 
     4. Regularly Changing Socks and Shoes 

Replacing your socks and shoes on a regular basis can also help to reduce the growth of undesirable foot fungus. Socks and athletic shoes both can be washed to remove yeasts and fungus that may be forming on the fabric. A half-cup of baking soda or one cup of vinegar added to the washing machine can help remove bacteria and fungus from socks and shoes.  

Some footwear can be machine washed and dried. When washing footwear, another alternative is to dry them in the sun, but make sure they are totally dry before using them again. 

Keeping the feet breathing by removing shoes and socks as much as possible will help to prevent fungal growth. Wear breathable shoes and clean, dry socks to protect your feet. 

     5. Magnesium Sulfate or Epsom Salt 

 

 

Washing your feet in Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) will help you get rid of foot fungus. [5] Wash your feet for 10 to 20 minutes in a mixture of one cup of Epsom salt and a small tub of warm to hot water. You might also make a more potent Epsom salt combination by combining: 

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar 

Soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes after combining all of the ingredients. Essential oils like tea tree oil, clove oil, etc. are an excellent complement to foot baths. After your foot soaks, wash with clean water and wipe dry with a clean towel. Following your foot bath, put on clean socks and ventilated shoes to avoid infecting clean feet. 

References 

[1] https://www.e-ijd.org/article.asp?issn=0019-5154;year=2007;volume=52;issue=1;spage=39;epage=42;aulast=Kaur 

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4047123/ 

[3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265176441_Sunlight_is_said_to_be_the_best_of_disinfectants_The_Efficacy_of_Sun_Exposure_for_Reducing_Fungal_Contamination_in_Used_Clothes 

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327708/ 

[5] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229321760_Antifungal_activity_of_sulfurcontaining_salts_against_the_development_of_carrot_cavity_spot_and_potato_dry_rot

 

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