Studies have shown that approximately 1 in 10 Americans suffer from nail fungus infections. The disease accounts for over half of all nail problems. The proportion of people affected is higher in older age groups with perhaps as many as 60% of people over 75 having nail fungus.
The disease rarely clears up on its own without treatment. It may appear dormant for several weeks and months, only to come back stronger. Do not assume that the discolored yellow patch on your nail caused by the fungus will simply grow out as part of a normal nail cycle. You need to treat the disease in order to get rid of it and return your nails to their healthy pink hue.
There has been a great deal of experimentation in nail fungus treatment given how widespread it is. The latest innovation is to use laser light for treatment as this is said to be able to penetrate the nail layers and reach the fungus to destroy it. As long term clinical trials are still needed to prove the efficacy of laser treatments, most sufferers choose to treat their infection using specialized nail lacquers such as Funginix or Zetaclear. These require weekly or daily application over several weeks and months.
Some people suffering from nail fungus decide to use home remedies such as Listerine, Vicks Vaporub and white wine vinegar to treat the infection. While these may help slow down mild infections, it should be noted that these products have not been designed to treat nail fungus infections and are unlikely to permanently cure the disease over the long term.
If you find that topical treatments and other therapies are working, your doctor may put you on a course of oral antifungal drugs. But this is generally only as a last resort as these drugs have been linked to side effects including liver damage.