Nail fungus is a very common problem. Nail fungus is characterized by nail discoloration. Some nails turn yellow, brown, or green. As the infection worsens, infected nails can thicken, lift up from the finger or toe. Early treatment of nail fungus is important as treatment can prevent permanent damage. Treatment can also prevent the fungus from spreading to other parts of your body and to other people.
What are the signs of nail fungus?
- Nail discoloration
- Debris under the nail
- Nail lifting away from the finger or toe
- Nail thickening
How do dermatologists diagnose nail fungus?
A dermatologist examines the nails and the surrounding skin for evidence of other signs of athlete’s foot or fungus on the skin of the foot. To treat the infection, you will need to treat all infected areas. To diagnose nail or foot fungus, samples may be taken by collecting debris from beneath a nail, trimming off part your nail, or scraping off a sample of skin. These samples can be tested for the presence of fungus.
How do dermatologists treat a fungal nail infection?
Treatment of nail fungus requires a prescription medication. For a mild fungal infection, a medicine that you apply to your nails may get rid of the infection. This treatment helps keep new fungus out while the nails grow. Fingernails typically grow out in 4 to 6 months. Toenails take longer, usually takes 12 to 18 months. For more severe fungal infections, oral anti-fungal medication is required. These have a higher cure rate than medicine you apply to your nails. Typically these medications are taken for 2 to 3 months to rid the infection from the fingernail or toenail.