Fungal Nail Infections
Fungal nail infections are really easy to get and really difficult to get rid of. This is because the infection starts right under the edge of the nail and immediately begins to work its way back between the nail and the tender skin beneath it. The nail that is designed to protect your toe is now protecting the fungus that is living right beneath it making it very difficult for you to get at it.
Because the fungus moves quickly spreading under the nail, it is critical that you also move quickly to treat it. If fungal nail infections have just started, then they can be treated by home remedies, like soaking in various solutions that will kill the fungus. Hydrogen peroxide is a good way to kill it initially, but you do not want to use it too many times because it also kills beneficial bacteria on your skin that help to prevent lots of infections. So use it once to clean the area and slow the fungus down, but do not keep using it or you may do more harm then good.
Another thing to try is Listerine, or another germ killing mouthwash. These are designed to kill germs growing in your mouth so they ought to be safe for your feet and able to kill the fungus. It will not usually work in one soaking though, so you have to be prepared to do it every day. About thirty minutes at a time is appropriate. Remember that the fungus does not take a day off from trying to grow and spread so you also can not take a day off from fighting it back. If you do, you will lose the battle.
The fist sign that you are losing the fight is that the nail will begin to turn an ugly yellow or brown color. This means that the fungus has worked its way all the way under your nail and has infected it as well. The nail will thicken and ever curl. Eventually it will fall off.
The good thing about the nail falling off is that it completely exposes the fungal nail infections so that you can treat them more easily. The trick is to clean the area obsessively and then continue the treatment process until the new nail has completely covered the toe, protecting it once again. It is critical to keep the toe clean and dry during this time of nail growth because if you let even the slightest bit of the fungus remain, it will already be living back under the nail and as the nail grows in it will cover and protect the fungus.
If soaking your toes in a household remedy does not work; then you need to visit your doctor for medication. Topical medications are available that you apply to the nail and they soak through to treat the infected area. These are often more effective then soaking and the time required is much less. This means you are much more likely to stick to the daily treatments and that much more likely to be cured.