Humans are surrounded with fungus in our world. If you have a fungal infection, the skin has become compromised. An opening of the skin is all that it takes, then it is up to the immune system to fight the infection. In the following pictures you can see there is a progression in the severity of the disease. It can go from minimal skin and nail involvement to a more severe, often disfiguring, infection.
So, if you have an infection and your body can not fight it on its own, seek help! These problems need help. There are medications and lasers treatment options available.
No, this will not kill you. However, if you’re a diabetic or have impaired circulation, smoke, or are immune suppressed it can cause a progressive infection that can cause a lot of pain and can require surgical treatment.
What can you do to help prevent this? Wash and clean your feet daily. Take care to trim you nails regularly. Wash soiled shoes or get rid of them. Once the sole or side of the shoe starts to break down then outside fungus can get inside. Some people have been known to share shoes. You can do this, just make sure they are clean. I have seen many people get a foot fungus this way!
How common is this? Population-based studies have found varied estimates of prevalence, ranging from less than 1 percent to 8 percent in Europe and the United States and less than 1 percent in central Africa. Onychomycosis (toenail fungal infection) is much more common in adults than in children, but occurs in both sexes. Most, but not all, studies have found higher prevalence in males than in females and it is known to run in some families.
Superficial Fungal infection can respond to oral medicine and laser therapy. This is the best time to initiate therapies. Recurrence is less common.
Deeper infections can respond well to both oral medication for 6-12 months or laser treatment and a majority of the nail will grow back normal. There is some incidence of recurrence.
At this stage, the severely dystrophic nails can be treated with both medication but the nail will rarely grow back. Recurrence is more common.
Statisitcs from Uptodate Physicians on line.