ProtectAir Fungal nail treatment
Fungal nail infection symptoms, diagnose & treatment
If you are suffering from a fungal nail infection. Chances are you have had it for a long time, tried several fungal nail treatments and failed to cure the infection. So how do you get rid of this fungal nail infection?
The truth is: treating a fungal nail infection isn't easy!
In this complete guide we will outline all do's and dont's for succesful fungal nail diagnose, tips and treatment. If you are looking for the best fungal nail treatment in the UK, you have come to the right place.
Curious to learn more? Keep on reading!
In this article:
- What causes fungal nail infection?
- Fungal nail symptoms
- General Practitioner (GP) treatment
- Podiatrist treatment
- Fungal nail pictures
- Home Remedies against fungal nail
- Medication against fungal nail
- Fungal nail laser treatment
- Fungal nail creams and ointments
- ProtectAir against fungal nail
- Fungal nail prevention
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Resources: scientific whitepapers and case studies
What causes fungal nail infections?
How did I get this infection?Fungal nail infection is a nail disease caused by fungi that naturally exist on your body. Fungal nail infections are very common.
The fungal nail infection starts with a skin infection, when bad fungi thrive and infect the surrounding skin and eventually make their way into the warm and moist breeding environment under the nail plate. Fungal nail usually starts starts with athlete's foot (tinea pedis) which - when the nail plate is damaged - can infect your nails causing toenail fungus.
There are several ways your fungal nail infection could have started. Many simple precautions can be taken to prevent infections on your feet, hands and nails. These precautions, combined with good personal hygiene and being aware of the risks of fungal nail infection, will surely help in minimising infected nails.
Sources of fungal infectionsEven though it is very hard to determine exactly what could have caused your toenail infection. We will summarise some of the most common causes of fungal nail infections.
Your own skinThe surface of your skin is covered in bacteria and fungi, some good, some bad. This should not be a problem, we need the good ones to defend us from the bad ones. But when the bad fungus starts overgrowing, you increase the risk of skin and fungal nail infections like toenail fungus.
When the skin becomes dry and damaged these fungus spores can penetrate the skin. Once nested in the upper layer of the skin, they can start infecting and cause a foot fungus infection (also called athlete's foot), which in turn can lead to nail infections.
- Fungi exist naturally on your skin
- Athlete's foot and fungal nail are caused by the same fungi
ShoesShoes are the number 1 reason you are getting skin and nail infections. Sweaty socks and shoes are an ideal breeding location for fungus. It thrives in warm, moist environments.
The moment you develop foot fungus (also called athlete's foot) the fungi could penetrate easily spread into your shoes and infect the (damaged) nails, causing toenail fungus.
A disinfecting shoe spray can prevent fungi to spread and protect your skin and nails against fungal infection.
- Shoes are the #1 source of reinfection
- Once infected, shoes need to be disinfected with a special shoe spray
The showerFungi love damp and wet environments. Showers, saunas, swimming pools and locker rooms offer the ideal place for them to thrive. Unprotected feet are easily infected by walking on a surface that has not been cleaned properly and a fungal nail infection could be the result.
At home, clean your shower with chloride or vinegar regularly. This kills any fungi on the floor surface and prevents the spread of infection to other family members
- Chloride or vinegar are very effective against fungi
- Wear flips or sandals when you have an infection, to protect yourself and others against infection
TowelsAre you sharing towels at home? Stop doing that immediately! Towels are a great place for fungi to nest and infect your skin and nails. Use a clean towel every time and ensure to wash your towels at a minimum of 60°C. to prevent getting or spreading a fungal nail infection.
- Most fungi don't survive 60°C.
- Always use a clean towel and dry your infected nail last
Fungal nail infection symptoms
What does fungal nail look like?In order to prevent the spread of the nail fungus infection (med.: onychomycosis or tinea unguium), it is important that you do not hestitate to take action in order to prevent the spread of the fungal infection to other nails.
As a rule, fungal nail infection can only be diagnosed at a very late stage. At the beginning it is difficult to recognise and just as difficult to treat. But don't wait for a mild case to get worse.
But when can you be sure that it is actually fungal nail infection? Below we have a selection of pictures of fungal nail infections.
You can recognize a fungal nail infection by the following symptoms (mostly on the nail surface):
- Discoloration: white, yellow or brownish nail surface
- Loose nail: debris building up under the nail
- Brittle or crumbly
- Distorted in shape
- Bad, foul smell
Start treatment as soon as you discover a nail infection! If you are unsure your nails are infected or simply damaged, always visit your GP. He can diagnose a fungal infection safely! Especially toenail fungus needs to be treated immediately.
General Practitioner (GP) treatment
Get the correct diagnoseNail infections can only be properly diagnosed by your GP. By harvesting a sample of the infected nails and sending it to a laboratory, they can determine whether you are suffering from a fungus, moulds or yeasts (candida species) infection.
After the correct diagnose has been made, your GP or specialist can advice you on which fungal nail treatment is best for your fungal nail infection.
Your GP can prescribe antifungal medication to treat the fungal infection from the inside. These tablets have serious side-effects and are not suitable for everyone. Please visit your GP to get advice on which treatment is most suitable for you. Topical medications are a good alternative.
Treatment choices are often determined by budget, medical condition and personal preference.Which treatment is best for you, is mostly subject to your treatment loyalty.
Every treatment needs to be followed by the letter to be succesful.
Professional fungal nail therapyIf you have severe fungal nail infection, it is adviced to visit a podiatrist for treatment. The podiatrist can get your treatment started by cleaning and preparing the nails for topical treatment with topical solution.
During your home treatment a regular visit to the podiatrist is adviced, if your budget allows this ofcourse. Treatment by a podiatrist is usually not covered by the NHS and can be very costly.
Prices typically range from £30.00 - 55.00 per 30 minute treatment.
Fungal nail pictures
Examples of fungal infections on toenails and fingernails
Home remedies against fungal nail
Treating from the comfort of your own homeConventional home remedies such as vegetable oils, vinegar essences, salts, baking soda, toothpaste and even urine are presumed to kill fungi. Various testimonials and recipes for "natural" antifungal treatment alternatives for toenails and fingernails are circulating on the Internet.
Pure myth? Or maybe there is something there?
First of all, there are no scientific studies to date confirming its effectiveness against infections. In most cases, leading medical professionals even advise against this! Even though many of the agents actually have an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, this is very low. You should therefore only use home remedies in very mild cases of nail fungus infections and never rely on their effects!
VinegarThe acidity is said to kill fungus spores with a daily foot bath of 15 minutes. Dip your infected toenail in the vinegar and let it soak. After the treatment it is advised to rinse the feet with water.
Tea tree oilTea tree oil is an essential oil said to reduce spore growth. With a cotton swab, affected areas should be treated with the tea tree oil 2-3 applications a day (sage and lavender oil can also be used as an alternative).
Baking sodaSprinkling an affected area should "dry out" the fungus. Alternatively, a paste can be made from baking soda and water, which is applied to the toenail.
UrineThe same active ingredient of urea cream can also be found in a small dose in your healthy urine. It is believed that this dose is sufficient to kill fungus spores. (we would not recommend trying this *YUCK!*)
Fluoride toothpasteFluoride is said to have a strong anti-fungal effect and therefore also helps against nail fungus.
Vicks VaporubVicks Vaporub contains menthol and is mentioned everywhere on the internet for its antifungal properties and as a possible remedy for nail fungus. Don't get your hopes up. It probably won't do anything but leave your nails feel tingly cold and fresh... and still infected.
The use of home remedies may seem temptingly cheap and worth trying, but it does not mean negligible risks:
- You lose valuable time and delay the important treatment (spread can continue)
- There is a risk that affected areas may be additionally irritated
- There are isolated allergies to home remedies
Try at your own risk! We cannot guarantee health and safety using these home remedies.
Medication against fungal nail
Antifungal prescription tabletsIf you are suffering from severe infections and your nail fungus has advanced so far that the growth zone of your nails are affected (white crescent moon at the bottom of the nail edge), systemic therapy with antifungal tablets. Prescription oral medication such as terbinafine (Lamisil) support your immune system and are recommended in any case. Terbinafine antifungal tablets are prescription-only and require a visit to your GP.
But be aware!
Oral antifungal agents are not suitable for everyone.
- The active ingredient supports healing from the inside (through ingestion, it reaches the nail bed via the bloodstream)
- Increases the chance of recovery
- Only really effective in combination with medical antifungal nail polish
- Side effects possible (including headache, itching, loss of taste, diarrhea)
- Expensive if not covered by NHS
- Pills are prescription only
People with heart, liver and kidney problems should not take antifungal tablets or pills. They can cause rare but dangerous side effects, including heart and liver failure. You may need testing every 4 to 6 weeks to check for liver, kidney, or heart damage, depending on which antifungal tablets you use..
Fungal nail laser treatment
Laser treatment at a specialised clinicLaser treatment is another way of treating your nails. The laser heats the nail and kills the fungus. Scientific studies show that it can accelerate therapy, but so far only in combination with topical nail treatments.
- Professional treatment support and advice
- Many approved podiatrists offer this treatment in their practice
- Very expensive
- Not scientifically proven to work
- Statutory health insurance companies do NOT cover the costs
- Treatment duration: Several months to one year
Fungal nail creams and ointments
Softens hardened nail to ease treatmentCream against nail fungus can also be effective in certain cases. The cream softens hardened nail to ease treatment of the infected part of the nail. If the infected part of the nail has hardened, external therapy with fungal nail solution is initially difficult. The use of a high-dose urea cream makes the nail more permeable and more receptive to further therapy.
- Make application of fungal nail solution more effective
- Only really effective in combination with fungal nail solution
- Thickened areas can also be treated by filing
- Warning: Do not use on brittle, crumbling nails
ProtectAir against fungal nail
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Fungal nail prevention
A clean & hygenic environment for great resultsFungi and bacteria are everywhere! They are easily transported by sweat to other areas like socks, shoes and the shower. Usually this is no problem, but when suffering from fungal nail, you should be extra aware. Preventing reinfection, isolating the infection and proper treatment are key to fast recovery.
Top 10 prevention tips
- Keep feet dry & clean
- Disinfect your shoes with a shoe spray
- Clean your shower and bathtub with chloride or vinegar regularly
- Do not share towels and wash them at 60°C.
- Wear clean socks daily and wash them at 60°C.
- Wear flips or sandals in shower, sauna, swimming pool or locker room
- Do not reuse nail files
- Do not share nail clippers or sciccors
- Never wear shoes 2 days in a row, allow them to dry
- Never wear other people's shoes (you can even get or spread fungal nail from fitting shoes in a shoe store)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Your questions, our answers
What is the fastest home remedy for toenail fungus?
If you are looking for the fastest, most effective way to get rid of toenail fungus: ProtectAir fungal nail starterkit is the only treatment on the market, actively protecting against reinfection. Making it the fastest way to treat toenail fungus at home.
How long does it take until the fungal nail is completely healed?
It could take anywhere from several weeks to over 1 year to treat fungal nail. The duration of treatment of nails depends very much on the severity of the infection, the stage of your nail's destruction and the chosen treatment method. In any case, treatment with fungal nail polish is recommended for fast recovery.
Does fungal nail heal by itself over time?
No! You won't get rid of your fungal nail infection without treatment.
Which remedy works best against fungal nail?
Scientific studies show that the best and most effective method for nail fungus so far is the treatment with a topical fungal nail solution. In addition, long-term care of nails and shoes is highly recommended.
Can I cover a fungal nail with a regular nail polish?
No! Do not use regular nail polish during the entire treatment. If you want to use nail polish during treatment, you should only use special breathable nail polish. This will prevent further nail damage.
Are athlete's foot and nail fungus caused by the same fungi?
Yes! In most cases, fungal nail infection is a result of untreated athlete's foot (foot fungus). Therefore, treat every small form of athlete's foot directly to prevent infection of your nails. Protect yourself against athlete's foot by always keeping socks, shoes and feet clean and dry.
What happens if I treat healthy nails that are not affected by nail fungus?
Probably not much. If you are unsure, see a doctor. This is necessary for prescription drugs anyway. Fungal nail solution, such as Protectair can be used safely at any time. Above all, they prevent re-infection too.
Is fungal nail contagious?
Fungal nail infection is very contagious and does not heal itself! If left untreated, the infection can easily spread and infect other nails or even other people! Be sure to always wear flip-flops or sandals in public places such as the swimming pool, sauna, or gym.
How dangerous is nail fungus?
You shouldn't take nail fungus lightly. Not only does it look unattractive, it can also cause more serious health issues. You should absolutely prevent the spread of the fungus to other parts of the body. The longer you delay a treatment, the more complex it becomes.
Supporting scientific whitepapers and case studies
 Monod, Michel, and Bruno Méhul. "Recent findings in onychomycosis and their application for appropriate treatment." Journal of Fungi 5.1 (2019): 20.
 Dars, S., H. A. Banwell, and L. Matricciani. "The use of urea for the treatment of onychomycosis: a systematic review." Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 12.1 (2019): 22.
 Lipner, Shari R., and Richard K. Scher. "Onychomycosis: Topical Therapy and Devices." Scher and Daniel’s Nails. Springer, Cham, 2018. 173-183.
 Gupta, Aditya K., et al. "Monotherapy for toenail onychomycosis: a systematic review and network meta‐analysis." British Journal of Dermatology 182.2 (2020): 287-299.
 Bhatta, Anil Kumar, et al. "Fractional carbon-dioxide (CO2) laser-assisted topical therapy for the treatment of onychomycosis." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 74.5 (2016): 916-923.
 Lipner, Shari R., and Dayoung Ko. "Optimizing topical therapy for onychomycosis: the importance of patient education." Cutis 102.6 (2018): 389.