Fungal nail infection - Overview
Nails - fungal infection; Onychomycosis; Infection - fungal - nails; Tinea unguium
Definition of Fungal nail infection:
Fungal nail infection is an infection of the nails by a fungus.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
The body normally hosts a variety of bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body. Others may multiply quickly and form infections. Fungi can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers.
Fungal infections include mold-like fungi that cause:
Fungal nail infections are most often seen in adults. They often follow fungal infection of the feet. Toenails are affected more often than fingernails.
People who often go to public swimming pools, gyms, or shower rooms, and people who sweat a great deal, often have mold-like infections. The fungi that cause them thrive in warm, moist areas.
The following increase the risk of a fungal infection:
- Getting manicures and pedicures using utensils that have been used on other people
- Getting minor skin or nail injuries
- Having a nail deformity or nail disease
- Having moist skin for a long time
- Poorly functioning immune system
- Wearing closed-in footwear
- Reviewed last on: 10/4/2010
- Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier: pp 491-523.
Hay RJ. Dermatophytosis and other superficial mycoses. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier;2009:chap 267.
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