The Lowdown on Fungal and Yeast Infections of the Nail

Fungal and yeast infections, also called Mycoses, are caused by a fungus, a primitive vegetable, which grows in all warm, moist areas and spots, which lack light exposure. Mushrooms, mold and mildew are examples of fungi, which live in air, soil, water and on plants. Some live in the human body. Only about half of all types of fungi are harmful to humans.

Some infections are caused by yeast (scientific names: Candida, Candidiasis, Moniliasis), which is a type fungus that lives almost everywhere, including in your body.

Usually, your immune system keeps yeast under control. If you are sick or taking antibiotics, it can multiply rapidly and cause an infection.

Some fungi reproduce through tiny spores in the air. You can inhale the spores or they can land on you. As a result, fungal infections often start in the lungs or on the skin. You are more likely to get a fungal infection if you have a weakened immune system or take antibiotics.

Fungi can be difficult to kill. For skin and nail infections, you can apply medicine directly to the infected area. Oral anti-fungal medicines are also available for serious infections.

Some of the better over-the-counter creams and powders may help get rid of many tinea infections, particularly athlete’s foot and jock itch. Other cases require prescription medicine.

Fungal infections under nails, aka Tinea unguium or Onychomycosis, are typically very hard to treat, because the nasty fungi are protected by nails. Topical medications cannot penetrate through the nail. Oral medications may be toxic and are not recommended for elderly people and diabetic patients.

Comprehensive and sophisticated therapeutic methods are required to eliminate fungus in toes and fingers and prevent reinfection.