Monday, August 20, 2007
Medical Reports: Fighting Fungus
Living in a warm and humid climate like South Florida, you can't always escape nail fungus, but while it's ugly and embarrassing, most people don't want to deal with the hassles of medications, so we went to the experts looking for some home remedies. Seven's Richard Lemus shows us some natural ways of Fighting Fungus.
WSVN -- The warmth, the moisture, it's why many of us love living in South Florida, but our Tropical climate and lifestyle also attracts another resident, fungus.
Helaine Zax: "I've been dealing with the fungus in my toes for years. I get it cured, and it goes away, I'm happy. The nails grow out, and then it comes back, and I start the process all over again."
Helaine Zax usually paints her nails with polish to hide this stubborn fungus on her toe nail. She's tried everything to treat it, including, most recently, when she finally resorted to prescription pills.
Helaine Zax: "You have to take them three months in a row, very expensive, and then it takes six months to see if you've cured the fungus."
Dr. Loretta Ciraldo: "You have to end up taking them for months, and you have to change your lifestyle. For instance, you can't have alcohol. Some of these pills will interact with other medications."
But doctors say there are some home remedies that might help. Your first weapon: A hair dryer.
Dr. Ciraldo: "Take the blow dryer and simply put this under the affected nail, and keep it there until the nail is bone dry because fungus cannot survive in bone dry environment."
This nail tech at Tootsies Nail Salon on South Beach has her own secret solution: tea tree oil.
Fernanda: "Take a dropper and put in your nail everyday."
Dr. Ciraldo: "It has very good anti-septic and anti-fungal activity, so topically applying tea tree oil can be very good."
Another remedy to try: oil of oregano.
Dr. Ciraldo: "I have another patient who did very well using oil of oregano. I tried it, and it helped me too! All you need to do is put a drop of the oil under the nail."
You can also soak your feet in white vinegar.
Dr. Manjula Jegasothy: "The directions for white vinegar are soak your hands or your feet in it for 20 minutes once a week, and then maybe drop a drop on each finger or toe that's affected each day. In addition, it has a bleaching affect, which can also help change the discoloration that the fungus can cause."
Even soaking in shampoo might help.
Dr. Jegasothy: "Another good solution is Nizoral shampoo, which is widely available over the counter. It's an anti-fungal shampoo that seems to work very well. Again, same thing, do prolonged soaks, hopefully every other day or even daily."
And there are also ways to make the fungus less noticeable.
Dr. Ciraldo: "Rubbing baking soda or peroxide under the nail can help to make yellow discoloration change to white color."
Always keep nails short. That prevents water and humidity from accumulating under the nail, and wear open-toed shoes as much as possible. Helaine's hope is that her fungus will go away soon, and she can go back to showing off her toes.
Helaine Zax: "Toes are sexy. You want to have nice toes. It makes you feel good."
Richard Lemus: "Doctors say you just have to try several things and see what works for you. Many nail techs will tell you to use bleach, but dermatologists say don't. It can damage your nail and nail bed."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Loretta Ciraldo
1080 Kane Concourse
Bay Harbour Islands, FL 33154
Dr. Manjula Jegasothy
444 Brickell Ave. Suite 403
Miami, FL 33131
Tootsies Nail Salon
1601 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139