Onychomycosis is a common chronic fungal infection of the nail. It is estimated to cause up to 50% of all nail disease and 33% of cutaneous fungal infections.1 The condition can affect toenails or fingernails but is more frequently found in toenails. Primary infectious agents include dermatophytes (e.g., Trichophyton species), yeasts (e.g., Candida albicans), and nondermatophytic molds. In temperate Western countries, infections are generally caused by dermatophytes.
Several types of device-based therapies are under investigation for the treatment of onychomycosis, including ultrasound, iontophoresis, photodynamic therapy, and laser systems. A potential advantage of lasers is that they have greater tissue penetration than antifungal medication and thus may be more effective at treating infection embedded within the nail. Another potential advantage is that laser treatments are provided in a clinical setting in only one or several sessions and, thus, requires less long-term patient compliance.
Careful steps must be taken to avoid re-infection, such as:
- Treat shoes & skin with anti-fungal agents.
- Apply anti-fungal creams to and between toes.
- Use an anti-fungal powder if your feet sweat excessively.
- Bring clean socks and a change of shoes to wear after treatment.
- Keep your nails trimmed and clean.
- Sanitize stainless nail instruments by boiling them in water for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- Avoid salons where equipment and instruments are not properly sanitized.
- Wear flip-flops in public places.
- Avoid wearing the same pair of socks and footwear on consecutive days.
- Kill fungus on footwear by placing it in a sealed plastic bag into a deep freeze for 2 days.
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