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Nail Infections Symptoms and Treatments

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Two main types of infection affect nails - fungal: for example, tinea; and whitlows (paronychia), bacterial infections down the side of the nail. Toenails can also be infected by tinea, and ingrown toenails by bacteria after botched attempts to cut them a
                       fungal infection in nails

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Two main types of infection affect nails - fungal: for example, tinea; and whitlows (paronychia), bacterial infections down the side of the nail. Toenails can also be infected by tinea, and ingrown toenails by bacteria after botched attempts to cut them away from the fleshy toe side.

Symptoms

  • Fungal infections thicken and discolor nails
  • May separate them from the underlying nail bed
  • A whitlow appears as painful swelling down one side of a fingernail, and often follows a minor injury, for example, with scissors or a needle
  • An infected ingrown toenail is very painful and may ooze pus                             

Cures

Naturopathy

A whole food diet and exercise, plus additional relaxation if necessary, will be recommended to optimize the health of the immune defense system. Hydrotherapy provides soothing baths and showers, opportunities for exercise (swimming and water sports), poultices and compresses, and hand and foot baths transport plant remedies as required.

Vitamins and Minerals

Recommendations include whole foods with plenty of vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants, calcium-rich foods such as low-fat milk and its products, and soy substitutes. Drink plenty of water to remove toxins and maintain a good state of hydration.

Specific supplements include zinc, beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, and selenium. Take fish liver oil capsules, evening primrose oil, and silica.

Herbal Medicine

Boost the immune system with preparations made from alfalfa, cat's claw, Echinacea and astragalus. Take preparations of goldenseal root (which can be extremely anti-infection and also helps boost immunity), either by mouth, or steep the crushed fresh or dried root in boiling water, then strain, cool, and use the liquid as a foot or hand bath. Dust the fingers and toes with powdered goldenseal root before putting on socks or gloves.

Aromatherapy

Dab an ingrown toenail with tea tree oil or whitlow, or make up a poultice, adding a few drops of tea tree or oregano essence. Make massage oil using 1 teaspoon (5 ml) soya oil with 2-3 drops of eucalyptus, basil, lavender, geranium or clary sage essence, and blend around the nails and around or on sore spots.

Homeopathy

To strengthen repeatedly ingrown nails, take Magnetis austr. 6c every 12 hours for up to a month. For whitlows, take hourly for up to 10 doses: Belladonna 30c in the early stages, when the skin over the whitlow is painful and throbbing; Hepar sulph. 6c when the base of the nail yields pus when pressed, and the surrounding skin is very painful; and Silicea 6c when the infected area is slow to heal.

Other Therapies

If poor posture is causing foot strain and crushing of toes within shoes, the Alexander Technique may be beneficial. In addition to this, general relaxation and stress-management measures to boost immunity and promote healing are recommended.

Medical Treatment

Antibiotics will be prescribed for whitlows and infected ingrown toenails. Part of the (toe) nail may be removed under local anesthetic to prevent further ingrown; and a large or persistent whitlow may be lanced under local anesthetic and drained of pus.

Prevention

  • Seek treatment for fungal skin infections before they attack the nails.
  • Wash and cover even the smallest wound and apply antiseptic cream or its herbal equivalent.
  • Seek treatment from a podiatrist (chiropodist) for ingrown toenails.
  • Maintain a healthy immune system.

Caution

  • Do not ignore minor fungal or bacterial infections.
  • A red steak rising up the arm (or leg) from an infected nail denotes lymph vessel inflammation - seek medical attention without delay.

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Levy Dalumpines

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