There are a number of ointments and creams available over the counter to treat nail fungus. However, they are not very effective since some infections can be stubborn and difficult to treat.
Moisture is often a breeding ground for fungus, and people suffering from nail fungus need to always keep their feet dry and clean. Doctors may prescribe oral anti-fungal medication like Sporanox and Lamisil for treating this condition. This is often done when patients have risk factors like diabetes or cellulitis. Oral medication is also prescribed when the nail infection causes discomfort or pain.
One of the down sides of this type of medication is that it takes four months or more for the condition to get better. In fact, the infection does not really go away, but the medication aids in the growth of an infection-free nail to grow and replace the diseased one. Patients need to take the medication anywhere from six to twelve weeks to make the new nail grow without any infection.
It is important to ensure that the nails are kept free of dampness. Infections can sometimes recur if the nails are exposed to moisture for a long time. Repeat infections are also harder to treat when it comes to nail fungus, given the long periods of time it takes to get rid of the infection.
Since drugs used for nail fungal infections could have side effects that are mild, like skin rash or have more severe consequences like liver damage, doctors are careful to avoid them for patients with liver disorders or those who are under specific kinds of medications.
When the infection is not severe, an anti-fungal nail polish like Penlac could help. It needs to be applied on the nails and the skin surrounding the nails every day for seven consecutive days, building up over the previous coats. On the seventh day, all the coats are wiped off with alcohol. The process is again repeated for several weeks. Using Penlac daily for about a year has shown to be effective in curing some kinds of fungal infections.
Doctors may also prescribe topical creams that are applied directly over the infected region. Lotions that contain urea can help the absorption of the cream into the skin. A combination of topical and oral medication often proves effective in curing the infection.
Home remedies can also help in treating this condition. Soaking the feet daily in a solution containing one part of vinegar and two parts of water can prevent certain kinds of bacteria from growing. Care should be taken to rinse the feet well and dry them completely.
These are some of the different forms of treatment for nail fungus. Different kinds of treatment might be required for each individual, based on the type and intensity of the infection.