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Nail fungus constitutes about half of all nail abnormalities. Yet we know so little about it. The fungal infection of nails generally won’t pose a serious problem in kids, but nails may sometimes show signs of damage and even become painful!
Fungal infection of the nails is not usually serious, but it can be unpleasant for your child and in some cases, difficult to treat. Fungal infections normally develop over time and can take even longer to go. When your child has a fungal nail infection, it can be uncomfortable or painful to wear shoes. He will find it hard to walk or stand as well. Here’s the scariest part: the fungus could also spread to other nails and the skin, even causing permanent damage to the nail bed!
The Different Types of Nail Fungus – Here’s How to Identify Them
Before moving on to the types, it’s important to know what nail fungus actually is. It’s an infection of the toenails and fingernails that enters through cracks in the nail or the skin. The problem worsens if you live in a warm and damp environment.
1. Yellow or White Nails
Distal Subungual Onychomycosis (DSO) is the most common type of fungal infection. Here, the infection starts at the end of the nail bed, turning a part of the nail yellow or white in colour.
2. Chalk-like Powder on Nails
White Superficial Onychomycosis (WSO) affects the top layer of the nail, forming white spots on the surface and eventually covering the whole nail with chalk-like powder.
3. Fungus on Toes
Candida Onychomycosis, also called yeast infection, is fairly uncommon and mostly affects the fingernail rather than the toenail.
Causes for Nail Fungus in Kids
Different fungi, yeasts and moulds can be a cause of nail fungus. Sometimes, a fungus may infect a child if he/she has an immune system disorder. Other causes include but aren’t limited to blood circulation problems, nail injury or nail surgery, and athlete’s foot.
Symptoms of Nail Fungus
The most common symptoms are thickened nail and discolouring, which may be white, black, yellow or green. In cases where the infection persists for long, nails may become brittle, and onycholysis may set in if the condition is still left untreated.
Treatments for Nail Fungus in Children
The doctor may clip off a piece of the nail for a culture test before prescribing antifungal medicine. The best chance of curing a fungal nail infection is through antifungal pills, but they can have side effects. New methods like laser treatment and ultrasound have also been introduced.
Prevention of Nail Fungus
Keep your child’s hands and feet clean and dry and get them to wear shoes that allow the feet to breathe. Also keep socks clean and nails trimmed.
Home Remedies for Nail Fungus
Soak the affected area in a solution of vinegar and warm water for 15 to 20 minutes every day. Rub a topical cream on the nail. Other natural remedies for nail fungus include tea tree oil, lavender oil and oregano oil.
Is Nail Fungus Contagious?
Yes, it is. Although it’s not classified as highly contagious, it’s still very easy for fungal nail infection to spread from one person to another especially if you use public showers, pools and locker rooms.
Help your child prevent or treat fungal infections of nails using these tips. Whether mild or severe, a doctor can help determine how long you or your child has had it for. You can apply the remedies to yourself too if you have a nail fungus.