Common treatments for infected fingernails include topical creams and gels, nail lacquers and oral drugs, says WebMD. Around 50 percent of nail fungus infections can be cured with oral drugs such as terbinfine. Nail fungus can present serious risks for people with diabetes or a weakened immune system.
The best treatment for nail infections depends on the fungus and the severity of the infection, explains WebMD. In rare cases, a nail must be removed so that a topical antifungal can be applied directly to the infected area.
Fingernails and toenails become infected when a microscopic fungus enters the nail through a small cut or break, says WebMD. Such infections are not the result of poor hygiene. The fungus grows in warm, wet places such as locker rooms and water and can spread from person to person and from nail to nail.
When treating an infected nail, it is important to wash the hands or feet using soap and water and to dry well, explains WebMD. It is also important to trim the nails so that they are shorter than the end of the finger or toe. Clippers and files should be washed with soap and water and then wiped with rubbing alcohol to prevent spreading the fungus. Infected nails should not be covered with polish because this prevents the fungus from leaving.