Applying Vicks VapoRub one or two times a day to a fungus-ridden toenail gets rid of the fungus over time, according to the New York Times. The thymol oil in the medicine has antiseptic properties that help to kill fungus.
One risk of daily application of Vicks VapoRub to toenails is irritation of nearby skin, as stated by the New York Times. However, applying some petroleum jelly to the skin around the nail before applying the Vicks VapoRub to the nail gives the skin an extra layer of protection. At worst, the Vicks VapoRub causes the skin around the toenail to turn red or show some other allergic reaction.
The drug Lamisil is one of the most effective treatments for toenail fungus, according to the New York Times. Patients take it orally each day for three months, and it is effective for roughly two out of three patients. However, it does have links with liver damage in rare situations, and so patients who take Lamisil are also encouraged to take liver function tests, which can be intimidating. Antifungal nail polishes such as ciclopirox are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but their effectiveness is lower than oral medications.