Scientifically known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus is a very common kind of infection affecting the nails in our toes. Discoloration of the toenails, whether yellow, brown, or white are among the common symptoms of this health condition. The condition is hard to notice in most cases as the infection normally develops over time.
What are the common signs of toenail fungus?
It is important to immediately treat this at the onset of the condition because it can affect not just one but several of our nails. Among the common signs are having a nail that looks thicker or more brittle than the others. Having a nail that looks elevated or lifted off or distorted is also a good sign of this condition. Above all, having a smelly infected nail also indicates this condition.
What are the causes of onychomycosis?
Onychomycosis happens when there is a fungi overgrowth in the nail. It is very common to affect the toenails because fungi are commonly present in moist or warm areas. The fungi affecting the infection are the ones that also cause the development of ringworm, athlete’s foot, or jock itch.
Transfer of fungi causing the infection is very common. This happens when someone gets in contact with a person with this condition. In addition to this, the transmission of infection can also happen if a person uses infected or non-sanitized pedicure or manicure sets or tools at a salon.
Toenail Fungus Treatment Over the Counter
There are a lot of available over-the-counter treatments to help those who have the infection. These treatments are helpful in a way because it eliminates the fungi that thrive on our skin and the nail.
Among the popular toenail fungus treatment over the counter are Lamisil or popularly known as terbinafine or Lotrimin also called clotrimazole. These are the two common treatments that are available over-the-counter. However, if these are not available in the local pharmacies, there are other home remedies that you can also turn to because these are the strongest ingredients in most OTC items for toenail fungus infections.
UA or undecylenic acid
One of the strongest products that you can use to fight the infection is undecylenic acid. This is a common ingredient in many OTC items. Available in most local pharmacies, it comes in liquid form that you can apply onto the nail.
Commonly used to provide relief to patients with cough suppression, Vicks VapoRub is also an effective over the counter treatment for this kind of infection. This claim is supported by the results of a study in the 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine which found the ointment to provide positive effects on the patients with this type of infection.
Tea Tree Oil
Also known as melaleuca, tea tree oil is popular when it comes to the treatment of toenail fungus infection. This essential oil is helpful because it is packed with antiseptic and antifungal properties. To treat those with the infection, all they need to do is to put the oil on the infected nail at least twice a day.
Another popular ingredient in over the counter treatments for toenail fungus infection is oregano oil. What makes the oil powerful in treating the infection is its thymol content. A 2016 study supported this after finding thymol to contain a lot of antibacterial as well as antifungal capabilities.
Some people combine oregano oil with tea tree oil to speed up the healing process. However, medical experts warn us about potential allergies that could be caused when these two types of oil are combined.
Extracts from Olive Leaf
If you are among those who prefer home remedies or natural treatments over prescribed treatments, then you can always try the extract from an olive lead. Many people who have tried it have recommended it as it contains oleuropein.
Oleuropein is packed with antimicrobial as well as antifungal properties. The extract is commonly available in local pharmacies in capsule packaging. A study available in the Pharma Journal online suggested taking at least one capsule twice a day to treat the infection.
If you think that Listerine is just a mouthwash, then you got it wrong. This is because some people have tried it to treat their toenail fungus infection. According to those who have tried it, all you have to do is to soak the infected toenail in the solution for half an hour on a daily basis. Some people believe that Listerine helps fight off the fungi because of its eucalyptus, thymol as well as menthol content.
In some situations wherein over the counter treatments for the infection are not available, people can always try the vinegar trick. Vinegar is a very helpful treatment not just for this condition but for other infections. Just like with the Listerine, all we need to do is to mix the vinegar with warm water and soak the nail for around 20 minutes once a day.
Sunflower and Olive Oil
Sunflower and olive oil are examples of ozonized oils that are helpful to us. These oils contain ozone gas but in a minimal concentration. Because of the presence of ozone gas, many experts believe that it is effective in treating infections caused by yeast and fungi.
It is easy to use. Like the other oils, all you have to do is apply it twice daily onto the toenail infected with the fungi.
In a worst-case scenario when all of the above-mentioned treatments are unavailable, then you can always turn to garlic. Garlic is effective as several studies have shown it to have a lot of microbial and fungal fighters. It is easy to apply. Crush or chop the garlic and place them on the toenail for half an hour on a daily basis.
Above all, what is really helpful is a lifestyle, hygiene, and diet change. By keeping yourself healthy, you can boost your immune system and have a good chance of fighting the infection.