What is onychomycosis?
It is a fungal infection of the nail, either the finger or toenail.
How does one get it?
The fungus is present just about everywhere. It is found in the dead flakes of skin that people shed everyday. It can also be found on pet dander and in the soil. In susceptible individuals, upon contact, the fungus invades and infects the nail.
Who is susceptible to onychomycosis?
Just about everyone. However, some people are more susceptible than others. Susceptibility is inherited and increases with age.
How does one know if they have onychomycosis?
The infected nail can appear in a variety of ways. It can be thickened, discolored, or partially removed. However, nails can appear abnormal in a variety of other conditions (psoriasis, eczema, trauma). Therefore, a fungal culture and biopsy of the nail are the way to know if you have onychomycosis for sure. Nail clippings are grown out on a media designed specifically to enhance the growth of fungus. A fungal culture typically takes anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
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