Have you ever noticed a brittle nail, with a flaky texture or yellowish tinge? Or maybe a painful, red bump on your skin, especially after a tropical vacation or a trek outdoors? Don’t worry, you’re not alone and you have plenty of options as far as treatment is concerned.
Although fungi and furuncles are equally uncomfortable, they are completely different from each other. It’s important to know these differences so that they may be successfully diagnosed and treated. Let’s start with the basics- fungi affect the nails whereas furuncles affect the hair follicles. There are treatments available for both, so there’s no need to worry if you notice either of the two erupt on your skin or nails. Let’s go into detail:
What are the symptoms of fungi?
- The initial symptom is spotting on the nails, they begin to get stained yellow or white, and then get darker from the debris that collects under the nail
- The texture of the nails is notably different, they tend to become extremely brittle, fragile and crumb-like.
- There is also an unpleasant odour that develops if the nail is covered for a long time
- In extreme cases, or if not diagnosed on early, the nail can also be dislodged from the skin
What causes fungi and how can I prevent it?
- If you wear socks and shoes on a daily basis, you are at risk because you’re feet do not get the ventilation they need. This is the perfect chance for bacteria and infection to spread. Make sure that your shoes aren’t too tight, and your socks are made from a breathable fabric. Thick socks that absorb perspiration work the best.
- Walking around public areas, such as swimming pools or saunas barefoot may not be the best idea. This is because these areas are an open ground for infections. If you are going to the nearest club for a swim, or for a relaxing massage at a spa, make sure you are wearing some sort of footwear at all times.
- If you have an injury on your fingernail or toenail, make sure it is covered up. This is because an open wound makes you more susceptible to disease, especially fungi.
What are the various treatments for fungi?
- A long-term treatment for fungi would be oral antifungal medicines which can be prescribed by a doctor. This treatment could last for six weeks, or could even take as long as five months for a healthy nail to grow back.
- Another long-term treatment is medicated nail polish, which can also be prescribed by your doctor. This usually takes a year.
- If you’re looking for something faster, there is laser therapy treatment for fungi as well.
- In extreme cases, you might have to get your nail surgically removed. In this case, you will have to wait for a new, healthy nail to grow back.
So now that we have an understanding of what fungi is, why it’s caused and how to prevent it, let’s move on to furuncles!
What are the symptoms of furuncles?
- A furuncle usually begins with a tiny, pea-sized reddish bump, and can be quite painful
- The skin around the bump gets inflamed and appears red and swollen
- The furuncle actually grows continuously as it fills with pus. If it’s not treated on time, it can grow to the size of a tennis ball
- Like pimples and boils, the top of the furuncle has a tiny, white tip which is where the pus can be drained out from
What causes furuncles and how can I prevent them?
- Furuncles are caused by a bacteria which infects the hair follicles
- If your skin is broken due to an injury or an insect bite, you’re at risk because bacteria can enter your skin with ease. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly and keep it covered and dry till it scabs. Scratching insect bites is a big no-no as it’s a sure way to rupture irritated skin
What are the various treatments for furuncles?
- If your furuncle is detected before it grows too big, it can be drained by a doctor
- If your furuncles are severe or keep recurring, antibiotics are usually prescribed
- A simple home remedy is to apply a warm, muslin cloth on the furuncle through the day. This helps it rupture and drain quickly. If you are not a professional, do not try rupturing the furuncle by yourself! You’ll need the help of a doctor for the same
Fungi and furuncles can be easily avoided if you take care of yourself and maintain proper hygiene. If you find yourself in the great outdoors, make sure you’re equipped with the right footwear, socks and insect repellent. The next time you see early signs of either fungi or a furuncle, remember it’s best to nip it in the bud. Remember not to self-diagnose or self-medicate, you can always reach out to us if you’re in need of a trusted Doctor.