Causes and Home Remedies For Nail Fungus, Among Most Common Infections
By Space Coast Daily // March 31, 2018
affects ears, fingers, nails, toes and genitals
Fungal infections are some of the most common infections, affecting various parts of the body like, ears, fingers, nails, toes, genitals etc. Nail fungus is one such infection.
Onychomycosis is the name of the type of fungus that causes infection on nails – both toenails and fingernails. This infection takes time to develop so you might not notice is initially.
Fungi are always present in your body alongside bacteria. The nail becomes infected when there is an overgrowth of fungus on or under the nail.
This infection is communicable and can spread via direct or indirect contact. For example, if you borrow an infected person’s shoes or gloves, you too might catch the infection.
The fungus develops in warm, moist environment. This is why it usually affects toenails rather than fingernails as your feet are mostly covered while you wear shoes which provide the fungus an ideal environment to grow.
Causes and Risk Factors for Nail Fungus
- Living or working in a hot, humid environment
- Constantly covered feet
- Diabetic patients, who have reduced blood circulation in their feet
- Direct contact with someone who has nail fungus
- Minor cuts or injuries around the nail
- Using communal showers or public swimming pools
- Sweating a lot, especially in your feet and on your hands
- A weak immune system
Home Remedies to Treat Nail Fungus
Listerine and White Vinegar
The original antiseptic mouthwash is capable of eliminating bacteria and fungus from your mouth to give you a better dental hygiene. These properties can also be used to treat fungal infections on nails.
Vinegar is acidic in nature and helps balance the pH levels of the affected area of the skin. By increasing the acidity of the area, vinegar makes the nail inhospitable for fungus.
According to Fabhow, you need to take a container large enough to soak your nails and add to it equal parts of the mouthwash and white vinegar. Soak your nails in the solution for about 45 minutes, washing them with water and thoroughly drying it afterward.
Do it once or twice a day, daily. The fungus on your nails will go away and you will get clean nails in 1-2 months.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil was used in the early 1920s by dental surgeons to clean up wounds because its potent antibacterial and antifungal properties made it better than the antiseptic cream available at that time.
This essential is highly regarded in natural medicine remedies as it eliminates bacteria and fungus very effectively and its cicatrisant properties treat wounds quickly while also preventing them from infection.
Clean the affected area on the skin with water and dry it out with a towel. Then apply tea tree oil directly on the nail. Leave it on for about 10 – 15 minutes and then scrub it off with a toothbrush.
Repeat the process twice a day for at least a month.
Baking soda contains fungicidal properties meaning it can eliminate the fungus causing the infection and prevent it from growing.
Here is how you can apply baking soda to treat fungal infection:
- Mix 2 parts baking soda to 1 part normal temperature water.
- Whisk it thoroughly to make a paste.
- With the help of a cotton swab, apply the paste on the infected nails and on the surrounding skin.
- Leave it on for 10 – 15 minutes and then rinse it off with water.
- Do this twice a day until you get the desired results.
This is an interesting remedy because when you use cornmeal, you are treating your fungal infection by killing it with another fungus.
Corn naturally contains a type of fungus that is harmless to your body but is detrimental to the fungus causing infection on your nails.
In a large enough container in which you can soak your affected area, add 1 cup of cornmeal and mix it with 2 quarts of water. Let the mixture sit for about an hour and then soak your affected area in it.
Soak your nails for about 30 minutes, doing it twice or thrice a week. Continue using this remedy till you eliminate the fungal infection.
Ingredients present in Vicks – like camphor, methanol and eucalyptus oil – are thought to give it the fungicidal properties that it has become famous for when treating fungal infections.
This remedy is a favorite among people suffering from fungal infections on nails due to its effectiveness at dealing with the problem, although the treatment does take time.
Scoop out Vicks with a spoon and apply it on the affected area liberally, covering the surrounding areas too. Now cover the area with a bandage or by wearing a sock, leaving the Vicks on.
You can wash it off after a few hours, taking care to dry your fingers and toes. Do this twice a day for 4 – 5 months to get effective results.
The regard for oregano oil is such, that some claim that it works better than most antiseptic and antifungal creams marketed today by pharmaceutical companies.
Oregano oil contains potent anti-viral, antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties – just to mention a few. These properties make it an effective remedy to deal with fungal infections.
Apply the oil directly on the infected nails, after cleaning and drying them beforehand. Leave it on for 10 -15 minutes and then scrub it off using a toothbrush. Do it twice a day until the fungus is eliminated.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Using apple cider vinegar to treat nail fungal infection is a great and effective remedy as the ACV contains anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties that eliminate the fungus.
Not only does it kill the fungus, it gets rid of the dead skin and its acidic nature ensures that the fungus does not spread to other parts of the body.
Mix ACV with equal parts water and soak the affected area in it. Soak it in for 30 minutes and wash it with normal water, drying thoroughly with a towel. Do it daily until the infection goes away.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract contains a substance called oleuropein which contains antifungal and immune boosting properties.
Olive leaf extract can be applied directly to the infected nail. Dip a cotton ball in the extract and apply it to the affected area. Cover it up with a bandage and leave it on for a few hours.
Rinse it off with water afterward. You have to do this twice a day for 1 -2 months to see effective results.
You can also ingest it in tablet form. In fact, taking 2 tablets a day with meals is said to be more effective than topical application in dealing with fungus. Remember to drink lots of water during this remedy.
Garlic has antimicrobial properties (antibacterial, antifungal) which enables it to combat and eliminate the virus causing nail fungus.
Not only does garlic get rid of the virus, it also prevents any further attack of the virus by boosting your immune system. It is mixed with white vinegar for the application which enhances the remedy’s effectiveness even more.
Crush a few cloves of garlic and add white vinegar to it. Now soak your affected area in this solution for 10 minutes daily, until the fungus goes away.
Coconut oil is widely regarded for its various benefits for hair and skin. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it a common remedy to treat skin diseases such as rashes, itchiness, dryness etc.
But coconut oil is also helpful in treating fungal infections. The fatty acids present in the oil are able to disrupt the cell integration of fungus by inserting themselves into the fungal membrane, eventually killing it.
Massage some coconut oil on the affected area and cover it with gauze or bandage. Leave it on for a few hours and then reapply it with a new bandage.
Change it thrice a day until the infection goes away. Keep massaging with coconut oil even after the infection goes away to prevent the virus from returning.
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