(CNNJ) – It’s an ugly problem many people don’t want to talk about: Nail fungus. While it may not be at the top of your list of health concerns, it will be, if it affects you.
“Nail fungus is caused by dermatophytes. Those are fungi that affect the skin and nail. And, fungi are found everywhere it’s ubiquitous means it’s everywhere in the environment,” said Dr. Dane Ulett.
Nail fungus is contagious, and causes visual changes in the nail, “You’ll see thicken of the nails, the nail will discolor it’ll be yellow or black. Sometimes the nail will loosen, it lifts up from the nail bed,” Dr. Ulett continued, “Sometimes they’ll have pain because the nail thickens and discolors.”
Even though anyone can get a nail fungus, Dr. Dane Ulett says athletes, elderly patients, and diabetics are at higher risk, but the good news is its treatable, “Option number 1 which I typically tell patients is topical anti-fungi and they have to do that daily for a year. The second option is oral medicine, the patient will take that daily for 3 months and you’ll see changes 60% of the time. And one of the new treatments which is the most effective one is the laser treatment and that we see effective changes about 85-87% of the time.”
As for prevention, don’t go bare foot in public, try not to get professional pedicures, change your socks and shoes daily and if your feet sweat a lot, you can use anti-fungal powder or spray.
Copyright CNN 2016