Children and Nail Fungus Infections
Although it is far less likely than not that a child will contract a nail fungus infection, it does happen. Onychomycosis, or nail fungus, is more commonly an adult disease, but as children spend a great deal of time getting into things they shouldn’t and playing in the dirt, they have as much potential as anyone else to attract the fungus that causes the infection.
For kids, the infection is more of a social affliction than anything. Other children may see the infected nail and want to avoid the person with the nail fungus because they think they’ll get sick. This can be really rough on a child’s self esteem.
And as the nail fungus infection develops, the nail can become painful and even possibly fall off. So treating the infection, or better yet avoiding the infection entirely is the best solution.
The infection tends to show up as whitish or yellowish spots on the nail, then gradually grows to cover the nail surface entirely so that the nail is opaque. The nail will then become thicker and more brittle, possibly flaking or crumbling at the edges. Depending on the type of infection, the nail can disengage from the nail bed and fall off, which can be very painful.
How Can I Prevent My Child From Becoming Infected?
Start by teaching your children good hygiene. Make them wash their hands when they come inside after playing. This will quickly remove any spores they may have picked up outside. Get a soft nail-brush and show them how to scrub underneath their nails as well, as that can be a very common area that nail fungus attack.
Keep your children’s nails trimmed close to the tips of their fingers and toes, as the less exposed nail there is, the less surface is available to the spores to invade.
Put antifungal powder in their shoes overnight so they don’t risk infection from wearing shoes all the time. Wash their socks in bleach to kill off anything that might be lurking in the fibers.
If you do end up with a child contracting a fungal nail infection, simple methods of controlling the disease are:
• Rubbing Tea Tree Oil on the infected nail and surrounding skin
• Soaking the infected nail in a solution of vinegar and water twice a day
• Clean underneath the nails to remove the dirt and then wipe with rubbing alcohol to kill the fungus.
If these solutions don’t have an effect, you can speak with your child’s doctor about other available treatments. Some of these, particularly the oral antifungal medications, do carry the risk of liver damage, so be careful which option you choose, and make sure your child’s health is up to the treatment.