How Is Thumb Nail Fungus Treated?


Quick Answer

It is possible to resolve mild toe- or fingernail infections with over-the-counter treatments, says Mayo Clinic. Severe or painful infections sometimes require prescription antifungal drugs or surgical removal of the affected nail.

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Full Answer

The primary symptom of fungal nail infection is flaking, thickening or discoloration of the nail, often accompanied by a foul-smelling buildup of debris underneath, reports Novartis Pharmaceuticals. It is advisable to visit a doctor to confirm the presence of nail fungus and to assess its severity before beginning treatment.

For less severe infections, Walgreens suggests over-the-counter treatments that include clotrimazole, branded as Lotrimin AF, and terbinafine, branded as Lamisil. Prescription medicines for more persistent fungus include the drugs itraconazole, whose brand name is Sporanox, and terbinafine, whose brand name is Lamisil. Both of these prescription drugs are taken orally. Both Walgreens and Mayo Clinic also note the efficacy of a medicated nail lacquer called ciclopirox, or Penlac. This nail polish is also sometimes used to treat and heal the nail bed following surgical removal of the nail.

Curing nail fungus usually takes two to three months of consistent treatment, states MedlinePlus. To prevent reinfection it is important to keep hands and feet dry and clean. It is also important not to share tools such as nail clippers and files with others.

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