Fungal infection of the nails

Nails, and especially toenails, are often affected by fungal infections. Infected nails are characterized by thickening, yellow-brown or greenish discoloration, hyperkeratosis, and fragility.

Nails can become predisposed to fungal infection through mechanical compression, as well as through an individual’s proneness to illness. Onychomycosis typically lasts for a long time, and even after the symptoms have completely resolved themselves, there is a tendency to relapse. Treatment includes exfoliating preparations, topical preparations, antifungal varnishes, and oral antifungal drugs—the last of these are most effective, and are the treatment of choice when the affected areas are large. Oral treatment lasts several months, but cosmetic changes can be expected within about 9 months—the time it takes for the nail to replace itself through growth. In order to select the appropriate drug, a mycological examination should be performed to check for the presence of fungi prior to treatment. Certain blood parameters need to be monitored periodically during the course of oral antifungal drugs.

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