Fungal nail infection affects the toenail in most cases. It is simply the overgrowth of the fungus that is normally present in the nails. When the conditions are favorable like, warm, moist and a place to hide, these fungi grow faster causing the infections. The fungus affects the nail bed in the affecting area. It causes itchy, pain and discoloration of the nail.
There are several myths floating about these fungal nail infections; some regarding the cause, some about the treatment etc. It is time you get the clearer picture and can do the needful to avoid and treat these infections in a timely fashion.
Myth #1 – Nail Polish Cures And Prevents Fungal Nail Infection
The Fact: The fact is that nail polish can promote the fungal infections. Nail polish promotes the moisture retention in the nail bed leading to the growth of these fungi. It can either lead to infection or can worsen the existing one. Moreover, the nail polish is a chemical layer that prevents the nail from breathing. Nail polish can only cover up the infected nail and do more damage. You need to keep the nail bare, clean and dry.
Myth #2- Fungal Nail Infections Are A Summer Problem
The Fact: Summer is warm, sweaty and can also be unclean depending on where you live. These are the most favorable conditions for the fungal growth. It is not a case only in summer. We almost create the same environment in the winter as well. During winter, we wear a thicker pair of socks to keep the feet warm. It can make it sweaty at times and cover it with some closed boots for extra protection. This again makes a perfect breeding spot for the toenail fungus to grow. It also depends on the type of footwear that we wear, regardless of the season we are living in.
Myth #3- Discolored Nail Means Fungal Infection
The Fact: Fungal infections cause the discoloration of the affected nail. The nail can become brittle, thick and ugly looking as well. But not all discolored nails are fungal infections. There are several reasons for a discolored nail. It can also lead to many diseases. It is important to get medical attention if the discoloration is prolonging and is bothering you. The fungal nail infections start with just a discoloration but later it can turn into texture change, itch and pain in the infected area.
Myth #4 Nail Fungal Infection Is Contagious
The Fact: Yes, the nail fungal infections are contagious, BUT only for those who share the personal things. It can spread by using the same towels, bath, swimming pools, locker rooms etc with an affected person. The public places get contagious when the affected person happens to walk on barefoot. The lesson is that NEVER walk barefoot anywhere if you have a fungal nail infection. Always prefer a new set of tools opened for you in the salons to avoid contamination.
Myth #5 Nail Infections Are Localized Problems
The Fact: The nail fungal infections mostly affect the toenails and sometimes the other nails as well. But it is not always a localized problem. The prolonged infections that are left untreated may cause the immune system to slow down. This can affect the other parts of the body. The body is most likely to succumb to other infections and diseases under these circumstances. It also adds to the problem that toenail infections take more time to get cured. Moreover, people having other diseases like diabetes; circulatory diseases etc can have this infection easily.
Myth #6 Nail Infections Are Easily Cured By OTC Medicines
The Fact: People who do try to get rid of this infection on their own are making the biggest mistake. Not only can the OTC medications cure the infection, it can take longer to cure it. Fungal infections require doctor’s attention to find the exact cause and need to be treated in the right way. The same applies to the home remedies. The home remedies may be effective to control the symptoms, but it cannot put a permanent stop to the infection.
Myth #7 Antibiotics Treat The Nail Infections
The Fact: Antibiotics are applicable for bacterial infections. The toenail infection is caused by fungus and the antibiotics have no effect on them. So the medicine should have antifungal ingredient in it. Whether it is an oral medication or a topical one, only the antifungal ingredient in it can get rid of the infection.
Myth #8 Proper Hygiene Keeps The Nail Infections Away
The Fact: If you believe that a highly hygienic person would never get the fungal infection that is a big mistake. Toenail infections can happen to anyone, no matter the hygiene level is. An unhygienic person is more susceptible to this infection. But that does not make a hygiene person immune to this. Hygiene is only one of the factors that can cause the infection.
Apart from the above-mentioned myths, there are several other myths that are floating regarding the fungal nail infections. Whatever the myth is, the fact is, it is a stubborn infection that can take longer to get rid of. It can also lead to other diseases. People having other diseases are more prone to these infections. An infected person should not ignore the signs and try his/her own remedies. They need to seek medical attention without delay. It saves time and helps in faster recovery.