John was a Navy hospital corpsman. He worked the general sick bay, managed a carrier O.R., and treated heat rash, eczema, and dyshidrosis.
Many of us have seen the unsightly signs of a yellowing nailplate which indicates the presence of Onychomycosis which is a ringworm of the nail.Given that the feet when walking in shoes (which is most of the time) are dark and sweaty, onychomycosis is most often associated with the toenails. It is possible, however, to have the fungus involve the fingernail. The incidence of this infection is rather evenly divided among men and women. The most common symptoms are:
1. Nailplate with a yellowish color
2. Nailplates that are thick
3. Disfigured nails that can detach from the bed of the nail
4. Tender toenails - a rather severe pain when the nail is pressured at all
It is the nature of fungal infections that they are very stubborn to treat. Even when an anti fungal medication is identified to treat a fungal infection, it can take much longer to cure the fungal infection than a bacterial infection. Patience and consistency are required. Early termination of treatment can result in relapse.
There are two philosophies behind treating fungals. You can use natural remedies or medicines that are synthetic. The following are natural remedies that have been reported to be highly effective:
1. Iodine - As a child, you may have been treated for a cut or scrape with iodine. It has been known for years to help kill bacteria. It is also effective against candida, a group encompassing a number of fungal infections. Iodine placed at the cuticle of the nail and the skin can be useful. The application should be continued until the discolored section of nail grows out and there is a margin of healthy nail growing. Be aware that iodine can stain the nail and if smeared on socks it can stain them.
2. Vinegar- Vinegar is acetic acid, a mild acid. A mixture of half vinegar and half water by volume makes a great soak for killing fungus. Soak three (3) times a day at least 1/2 hour. A mild acid solution can also lessen itching. The subject should be very faithful of the regimen daily until signs of the disfigured nail are gone (grown out).
3. Hydrogen Peroxide- As with the previous two home remedies, hydrogen peroxide is useful for many different purposes. It has been a standard treatment for many years. Using the hydrogen peroxide (which produces oxygen) is referred to as an oxidative therapy. Purchase 3% hydrogen peroxide from your local drugstore. Some other places like grocery stores also carry the product. Choose water or common vinegar to mix it in. Again, soak the nails for at least a half hour each day, three times a day. It will probably take months of careful soaking, but results can be seen.
4. Bleach- Your average household cleaner is used to bleach as a cleaning product. Because of its whitening properties and anti-bacterial action, it has been used for many, many years. But bleach can also have medicinal uses. The literature on onychomycosis reports that it can be used to kill fungus also. Again, a soak should be made by using a water and bleach solution. Using a bleach bottle cap as your measure, use one with a gallon of H2O (water). Remember, bleach has an average pH of 12.4 and is alkalinic. Therefore, bleach in excess will burn. Follow the directions for the soak; don't be tempted to use more. Your skin can get very irritated if you overdo the use of bleach. White vinegar can be used to neutralize it, however if any adverse effects occur (as is the case with any substance), consult a physician.
5. Sunlight- Keeping your feet dry and exposing them to sunlight can kill fungus. Fungus enjoys dark moist environments. The heat of the sun and the radiation help to eliminate fungus. Exercise followed by treatment has been reported to help in the cure of fungal infections.
6. Tea Tree Oil- Melaleuca oil, another name for tea tree oil, is an oil recommended to be applied to the area after each of the above remedies. After the feet have soaked according to the regimens above, dry them and apply the oil to the matrix area and skin near the cuticle. Two to three times a day is the recommended treatment. The treatment should last for 6 months. As is the case with ANY treatment, if you start to improve in the condition of the nails, don't stop application!
Fungi reproduce quickly, so interrupting the applications by not following through can lead to longer treatment. Health food stores and any kind of store for specialties will have the tea tree oil.
With all the applications above, if you file the nail with an emory board until it is the thickness of an ordinary nail, it is reported that the substances listed above will work even better. In addition, white iodine and Tea Tree Oil oil have been reported to be very effective (a combination of the two outlined above).
*And one last note. Vitamin E oil applied with a Q-tip over a period of weeks showed good quick results, reportedly.
You can avoid toenail fungus and the ugly, yellow, thick nails associated by keeping your feet dry, removing shoes, and exposing feet to air and sunlight whenever possible, and using the remedies above at the beginning signs of this particular candida. It usually starts as a light brown to yellow spot emanating from the nail matrix. Since many of us encounter this infection by total surprise, it is useful to know about home remedies. Don't forget that there are many anti-fungal medicines that your doctor can prescribe, including creams, liquids, and pills.
The most often used prescription drugs for toenail fungus are Terbinafine and Itraconozole pills. It is reported that with these meds a 60-80% cure rate occurs. Nail polish that contains Amorolfine can also be used, but is used less frequently. Keep feet cool and dry; the fungus that causes athlete's foot works its way into the matrix and causes onychomycosis, so stay away from communal baths and after a shower at a swimming pool, don't walk bare-footed.
A foot laser machine has shown promise in treating toenail fungus. At the same time, a spruce tree resin from Norway is promising when applied as a lacquer to the nail.
For a June 2019 overview of professional nail treatment, try reading the Mayo Clinic information at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353300 .
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 John R Wilsdon
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on April 27, 2013:
Thanks FlourishAnyway for the comment. Fungal infections of all types are much more difficult to treat than other bacterial infections. An individual must keep his "fungal" area dry and be religious about any treatment. They may be difficult to handle, but they can be beaten.
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 27, 2013:
My husband introduced this condition to the family as a result of his frequent swimming, wearing work boots and running shoes daily that probably were not dry, and from not consistently following his doctor's treatment regimen. Prevention and consistency are so important because this nasty condition likes to set up camp and stay. It sure can ruin summer sandal season!
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on April 20, 2013:
You are right about the cost and how the anti-fungals affect the liver. I too took the pills (Grisiovulvin?), and it worked after a one year treatment. Luckily, I don't have it back. But I found the subject interesting. There are all kinds of things in the household that people have found (or they think they have found) that have improved their conditions. Hope the info helps some. Thanks for the comment.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 20, 2013:
The problem for people who work and are on their feet much of the day, oftentimes they would find it hard to soak their feet/toenails several times a day. But for those who can do it, these natural remedies are certainly worth a try! My husband took prescription pills which did eventually cure his affected toenails. The problem is that it is hard on the liver. And now it has come back...so it is not a forever cure...and the prescription was also expensive. Voted up, useful and interesting!
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on March 17, 2013:
Yep! The success rate is questionable. Thank you for the kind comment. Look forward to reading your stuff.
Chen on March 16, 2013:
Great info, and really useful, especially for people like diabetics for whom it isn't very safe to take the prescription medications. So many of the over the counter meds have a low success rate, it would be better to apply these remedies first. It's so gross to look at though! Blech! Useful, voted up!
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on December 20, 2012:
So happy for the improvement for your wife. And, it is so kind of you to share your success. I will Google SIXTUS-WERKE and see what it is all about.
Regards to you and your wife. Thanks.
Marco Piazzalunga from Presezzo, Italy on December 20, 2012:
I can propose a remedy that I have found, after trying various solutions for years without success.
It is a product of SIXTUS-WERKE from Germany and it is an oil based on herbs of the Alps + allantoin.
You can find news about this possible easement at www.sixtus.de
My wife has recently undergone a course of chemotherapy which caused loss of nails due to the proliferation of various fungi ... Well after daily use of this oil things are much improved.
Hope this help,
Thank you for sharing this ...
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on December 18, 2012:
How kind of you to give me some link juice. It is true; your dogs really do take it in a number of ways. Doing the best you can to care for them can really improve how you feel in general. I know. Thanks a lot for your comment
vibesites from United States on December 18, 2012:
The feet and the toes are the most abused yet the most ignored when it comes to caring for them. I know someone who keeps on having "dead" nails and I 'd be glad to share this hub. Voted up and useful.
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on December 14, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, crcjunior
Anatabloc certainly has its supporters. From what I have read, it shows such great promise in treating disease.
crcjunior on December 13, 2012:
Fungal Toenail Infection and Anatabloc nutraceutical supplement at GNC
For twenty years I have battled Fungal Toenail infection in one toe. I have tried everything. Nothing worked and there were many side effects. See below. Within seven weeks of being on Anatabloc (2 tablets three times daily of Anatabloc) the toe started to grow back normal. I did remove the infected toenail before normal pink growth began. What a miracle !! This Fungal Infection WAS hideous!
See write-up http://tinyurl.com/8e3hjqu
Testimonials Anatabloc: http://tinyurl.com/9w655yr
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on November 06, 2012:
Nice to know someone maybe helped -thanks.
Mary Craig from New York on November 06, 2012:
I know someone who has been suffering from this for a long time. I'm sure he'll be glad to try some of these remedies...you never know! Voted up and interesting.
Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on July 27, 2012:
Thank you for the information. I knew about Tea Tree oil and vinegar, but have not heard about bleach.
John R Wilsdon (author) from Superior, Arizona on May 24, 2012:
Thanks for your comment. You are right; we should pay more attention to our bodies for overall good health. It is a great way to stay healthy.
Nikki John from USA on May 24, 2012:
We should take proper attention to our body and emerging different disease. So, that we should not affected by these types fungus and if affected should cure before it becomes big problem. Thanks for providing this type of important information for all us.
purnimamoh1982 on May 09, 2012:
Very useful information on toenail fungus. For me it is a bit of knowledge although I have seen this thing and used to think that it is a sort of deformation. You hub is comprehensive and lucidly reader friendly. Mention of most of the materials to be used in treatment is commonly available and I am sure, many would find your hub useful. Congratulations for the great write up. Voted Up and followed. Please visit my hubs at you convenience and post your comments.