Traditionally, nail fungus has been considered a problem for older people. However, in recent years, the statistics of the incidence of trichophytosis (onychomycosis) among children and adolescents has been increasing. According to various studies, from 10 to 25% of the inhabitants of the Earth suffer from fungal nail infections.
MedAboutMe tells what causes the disease, why girls get sick more often than boys, and how to properly treat the fungus.
From gel polish to hairpins: who is to blame for trichophytosis
The cause of trichophytosis (or onychomycosis) is a fungus. There are many pathogens, some of which are pathogenic (you can get infected from the outside), and some are opportunistic (they live on the surface of the skin, are activated when exposed to certain triggers).
Factors contributing to the development of trichophytosis:
- wearing narrow and tight shoes that squeeze the toes (pointed toe shoes, high heels lead to improper distribution of the load);
- nail plate injuries (often found in professional athletes);
- flat feet;
- taking cytostatic or hormonal drugs (for health reasons);
- diseases of the immune system (congenital and acquired immune deficiency);
- violation of the rules of personal hygiene (rare change of linen, improper treatment of the skin of the hands and feet);
- frequent visits to public baths, saunas, swimming pools.
Girls experience nail fungus much more often than boys. And the point here is not at all a violation of the rules of personal hygiene: the fashion for long-term coating of the nail plate — gel polish is to blame.
In the process of manicure and application of the composition, the nail plate can be damaged (propyl or burned), which creates conditions for the development of fungal microflora.
Also, do not forget that not all masters (especially those who work at home) follow the rules for processing tools after a previous client.
Main symptoms and consequences
Visual manifestations directly depend on the severity of the pathology.
- With a slight lesion, a change in the color of the nail plate is observed: it becomes yellow or brown, loses its transparency, but is painless when pressed.
- A deeper process leads to thickening, breaking off and other deformations of the plate.
Often the skin is involved in the process: this may be accompanied by peeling, itching and minor soreness.
You should pay attention to the child’s nail plates. Thickening, discoloration, increased fragility or deformation is a good reason to seek the advice of a specialist.
Self-cutting of a diseased nail is not always effective: the fungus spreads very quickly.
What can fungal nail infections lead to?
- deformation of the nail plate or its complete rejection (cosmetic defect);
- accession of a secondary infection (staphylococci, streptococci and other flora living on the surface of the skin are activated);
- generalization of a fungal infection (often found in weakened people with primary or secondary immune deficiency).
What to do if symptoms of a fungus appear?
It is very difficult to independently identify the fungus in a child: it can disguise itself as other diseases. For example, psoriasis, lichen planus, or onychodystrophy often begin with damage to the nail plate. To avoid improper treatment, you need to contact a dermatovenereologist.
The doctor will conduct an examination, after which he will prescribe additional examinations. To diagnose the fungus, it is necessary to conduct a microscopy of the nail plate. To do this, a small section of the nail is cut off in the affected area, and then sent to the laboratory. The specialist receives the result, after which therapy will be prescribed.
Treatment of onychomycosis: recommendations
The nature of therapy directly depends on the depth and prevalence of the process. With a superficial fungus, local remedies in the form of varnishes, ointments, creams and solutions will suffice, while systemic treatment (tablets) is necessary for deep onychomycosis.
The treatment is long, and it is important to follow all doctor’s prescriptions.
In May 2020, scientists from the University of Toronto School of Medicine (Canada) conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment of nail fungus in children with an antifungal solution.
Within 48 weeks, patients used the drug, followed by control at 52 weeks. At week 52, the effectiveness of therapy was 65%.
If the nail plate is severely altered and destroyed, the doctor removes it under local anesthesia. Some hospitals provide a hygienic pedicure service: a nurse treats the nail plates, removing altered tissues.
Prevention: what to remember?
Nail fungus is an unpleasant problem that can cause a lot of inconvenience, ranging from a cosmetic defect to the development of a systemic process. It is quite possible to prevent infection. To do this, MedAboutMe advises to follow simple guidelines:
- Refuse to cover nails with gel polish until the child reaches 16 years of age. During this period, the nail plate is still being formed: it can be thin and rather vulnerable. It is better to give preference to ordinary varnishes, and for very young children not to cover their nails at all.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Tight shoes, small boots are all important risk factors. Often, a child’s foot grows very quickly, as a result of which shoes chosen in the fall can become small by winter.
- Observe the rules of personal hygiene. The child should regularly change socks, wash their feet and hands with soap or shower gel, use special deodorants for the problem of excessive sweating.
- Treat flat feet. To do this, you need to wear the right shoes (with orthopedic insoles), regularly massage your feet and perform therapeutic exercises.
- Wear rubber shoes in public places. When going to the pool, sauna, etc., you need to take a change of shoes with you: this will help to avoid infection with fungal infections.
- Contact a dermatologist promptly. Self-medication does not always end in success, and you can also miss more dangerous diseases that begin with damage to the nail plate.
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Published on 10/01/2020 09:50, updated on 10/02/2020 03:59
The problem of onychomycosis in childhood / Akhmedova S. D. // Biomedicine (Baku). — 2014 — #1
Modern features of the epidemiology and clinical course of mycoses in children of the Novosibirsk region / Erzina E. I., Pozdnyakova O. N., Artamonova O. G. // Journal of Siberian Medical Sciences. — 2014 — Number 3
Labeled use of efinaconazole topical solution 10% in treating onychomycosis in children and a review of the management of pediatric onychomycosis. / Gupta AK, Venkataraman M, Shear NH. // Dermatol Ther. — May 2020