Fungal infections on fingers or toe nails are difficult to treat. Dermatophytes are the group of fungi responsible for fungal infections on the skin of human beings. Toe nails are more frequently infected when compared to the finger nails. Such an infection causes thickness and leads to an ugly appearance of the infected nails. There are various treatment options available for curing fungal nail infections.
Option 1: Topical Ointments
When the infection is mild, topical ointments can relieve you from the infection. Although fungi are protected under the nail, ointments can be applied to get relief from mild infection. Some of the commonly used ointments are:
- Nystatin-containing ointments
- medicated nail lacquer
- Imidazoles (ointment with Micronazole nitrate and cotrimazole)
- ointments containing benzoic acid and salicylic acid
At times, the infected nail is treated with 40% urea paste and then covered with a bandage. Every morning, the debris has to be removed using a spatula. Clean the nails and then apply the paste and keep it covered. This procedure should be continued for at least 2 to 4 weeks.
Option 2: Oral Medication
As topical ointments are less effective, oral antifungal medication are used to treat moderate form of fungal infection. Commonly used drugs are Azoles (Itraconazole and Diflucanazole), Terbinafine and Griseofluvin. For example, Itraconazole is administered as a pulsed treatment. It means that 200 mg of this drug is prescribed for an adult 2 times a day for 1 week, and then the subsequent course is repeated for another 21 days. Effectiveness of these drugs in treating infection is unquestionable; however, they come with potential side effects like liver damage.
Option 3: Laser Treatment
This is a new option of treating fungal nail infection. It is especially more effective for toe nail fungal infection. Several sessions of laser treatment might be required depending on the severity of the infection. Heat generated by the red laser will kill the fungi in the infected area.
Option 4: Popular Home Remedies
Though there is no clinical evidence to prove the effectiveness of this treatment, many of the users have satisfactorily controlled the infection through these remedies.
- Tea Tree Oil – 100% tea tree oil is applied to the nail and surrounding area
- Menthol and Camphor – a paste containing menthol, camphor, thymol and eucalyptus (like Vicks Vaporub) is found to be effective in inhibiting the growth of fungi.
- Vinegar – this weak acid has to be mixed in 1:2 proportions with warm water and used for soaking feet.
Option 5: Surgery
When all treatment options have failed to keep the fungal nail infection under control, a minor surgery is performed to remove the nail by applying local anesthesia. Then, antifungal medicines are administered to prevent further infection.
There are many treatment options available to treat nail infections. Nothing can be regarded as the best option, as a treatment may be more effective for one person, while it may not produce any results for another person. Hence, it is wise to consult a dermatologist or podiatrist to decide about appropriate treatment for your fungal nail infection.