Dr. Alan Greene on Fungal Toenail Infections

How can I tell if my child has a fungal toenail infection?

Question

How can I tell if my 7-year-old son has a fungal toenail infection?

Answer

Fungal nail infections are more common in kids than most people think. These infections usually start with an athlete's foot rash around the toes that gets into the nails. The nails become thickened and discolored. Doctors can often tell by simply examining the nails, but sometimes sending a little sample for testing is necessary.

This fungus grows in a warm, moist, dark environment, which is why the inside of shoes is such a great place. Wearing white cotton socks and cool shoes or sandals can help to slow the spread of fungus. You can try some of the over-the-counter athlete's foot preparations, though Lamasil cream is probably the strongest. When the fungus gets into the nail, oral medications are usually needed. The best ones are Lamasil, Sporanox, or Diflucan. There are older medicines available, but they have more side effects.

 

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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