Fingernails and toenails can get infected with fungus. Medical terms for the infection are onychomycosis or tinea unguium.
Fungus grows best on warm, damp skin. The fungus that infects the nail usually spreads from infected skin close to the nail.
Nail infections are more common and may be harder to treat in people who have diabetes or poor circulation, and in people whose immune systems are weakened by HIV, cancer, or other health problems.
Symptoms may include:
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Infection can be confirmed with lab tests. A small, scraped sample of the nail may be tested in the lab for fungus.
If the infection is very mild, your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe medicine you can put on the nail. For more severe infections, your child’s provider may prescribe an antifungal medicine to be taken by mouth.
Your child may need to take the medicine until the nail grows all the way out and there is no longer any sign of the fungal infection. This usually takes about 6 months for fingernails and 12 months for toenails.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your child’s healthcare provider. Ask your child’s healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.
Fungus grows best on warm, damp skin. To prevent fungal infections, it's important to keep your child’s hands and feet as dry as possible. It may help for your child to:
If your child has nail infections often, he should be checked for diabetes.