What to Do If You Have a Nail Fungus: Prevention and Treatment Tips

Nail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis, is a common condition affecting millions worldwide. It occurs when a fungus infects the nails, resulting in discolouration, thickening, and brittleness. If you suspect you have a nail fungus, taking immediate action is important to prevent it from worsening and spreading. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss what to do if you have a nail fungus, provide valuable tips for prevention, and explore various treatment options, including home remedies.

1. Consult a healthcare professional:

If you suspect a nail fungus infection, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist or a podiatrist. They can examine your nails, determine the extent of the infection, and recommend appropriate treatment options. Seeking professional advice is particularly important if you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, or other underlying health conditions that may increase the risk of complications.

2. Practice good nail hygiene:

Maintaining proper nail hygiene is essential to prevent the spread of nail fungus and support the healing process. Here are some tips to follow:

1.) Keep your nails clean and dry: Moisture creates an ideal environment for fungal growth. Dry your nails thoroughly after washing and make sure to change socks or shoes if they become wet.

2.) Trim and file nails properly: Trim your nails straight across and file the edges to prevent ingrown nails and minimize the risk of fungal entry points.

3.) Avoid sharing personal items: Do not share nail clippers, files, or other items that may come into contact with infected nails. Fungal infections can spread easily through these items.

3. Choose the right footwear:

Fungal infections thrive in warm, damp environments like sweaty shoes. To prevent nail fungus:

1.) Wear breathable shoes: Opt for natural materials like leather or mesh that allow air circulation and moisture evaporation.

2.) Alternate shoes: Give your shoes time to dry out completely between uses. Rotating your footwear reduces the chances of trapped moisture promoting fungal growth.

3.) Use antifungal sprays or powders: These products can be applied inside your shoes to help kill any fungus and reduce the risk of reinfection.

4. Practice caution in public places:

Public places such as gyms, swimming pools, and communal showers can harbour fungi that cause nail infections. To protect yourself:

1.) Wear protective footwear: Use flip-flops or shower shoes in public showers, locker rooms, and pool areas to minimize direct contact with contaminated surfaces.

2.) Avoid sharing personal items: Towels, socks, or shoes can carry fungi. Ensure you have clean towels and avoid borrowing or lending these items.

5. Consider antifungal treatments:

Treatment options for nail fungus can vary depending on the severity of the infection. Your healthcare professional may recommend the following:

1.) Topical treatments: Over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, or nail lacquers can be applied directly to the infected nails. However, they may have limited effectiveness in severe cases.

2.) Oral medications: Prescription oral antifungal medications are typically more effective for moderate to severe nail fungus infections. They work by targeting the fungus systemically. However, these medications may have potential side effects and require careful monitoring.

3.) Laser therapy: In some cases, laser treatment can be used to target and destroy the fungus. This procedure is non-invasive and generally safe but may require multiple sessions.

4.) Nail removal: In severe cases or when other treatments have failed, surgical nail removal may be considered. This allows for direct access to the infected area and enables the application of antifungal medications.

6. Explore home remedies:

In addition to medical treatments, several home remedies may help alleviate nail fungus symptoms. While these remedies may not completely eradicate the infection, they can be used as complementary approaches. Here are some popular home remedies:

1.) Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties. Apply a few drops of tea tree oil to the affected nails twice daily. However, it’s important to note that tea tree oil can cause skin irritation in some individuals, so diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut oil before use is recommended.

2.) Apple cider vinegar: Soak the affected nails in a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water for 15-20 minutes daily. Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties and helps create an inhospitable environment for the fungus.

3.) Garlic: Crush a few garlic cloves and mix them with olive oil to create a paste. Apply the paste to the affected nails and cover them with a bandage. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight. Garlic has natural antifungal properties that may help combat nail fungus.

4.) Baking soda: Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water, and applying it to the affected nails. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Baking soda helps balance the pH levels and may inhibit fungus growth.

It’s important to note that while home remedies may provide relief for some individuals, they may not work for everyone, and scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness is limited. It’s always best to consult a healthcare professional before trying home remedies.

7. Be patient and consistent:

Treating nail fungus takes time, and results may not be immediate. It’s essential to be patient and consistent with your treatment regimen. Follow your healthcare professional’s advice, apply medications as directed, and continue treatment until the infection is completely eradicated. Additionally, continue practicing good nail hygiene and preventive measures to minimize the risk of reinfection.


Nail fungus is a common condition that can be effectively managed with appropriate treatment and preventive measures. If you suspect you have a nail fungus, consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. By practicing good nail hygiene, wearing appropriate footwear, considering antifungal treatments, and exploring home remedies, you can take proactive steps to address nail fungus and restore the health of your nails. Remember, prevention is key, so incorporate these tips into your daily routine to minimize the risk of developing a nail fungus infection and maintain healthy nails for the long term.

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