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Nail infections treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions

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Can I talk to a doctor on Maple about my nail infection?

Yes, you can. Most of the time, a healthcare provider can diagnose nail infections by discussing the symptoms and signs of nail infections, and your medical history. They’ll also want to perform a physical exam.

Less frequently, the healthcare provider may suggest additional testing to check for the exact cause of the nail infection that you’re experiencing. Once they’ve given you a clear diagnosis for your nail infections, the healthcare provider can suggest nail infection treatments that will work effectively for you.

Can I get a prescription on Maple?

Yes, our physicians can prescribe nail infection medications online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription for nail infections, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or to have it delivered right to your door at no additional cost.

You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

What are nail infections?

Nail infections are bacterial or fungal infections on, around, or under the fingernails or toenails. When the skin around the nail becomes infected, the infection is called “paronychia”.

Nail fungus is called “onychomycosis”, and occurs more often in toenails than fingernails. This is probably due to the moist environment, and because we don’t wash our feet as much as our hands.

There are a few different types of fungal infections that can affect nails, including:

  • Proximal subungual infections
  • White superficial infections
  • Distal subungual infections
  • Candida infections
What are the symptoms of a nail infection?

The symptoms and signs of nail infections can vary, depending on the type of infection that you’re experiencing, and its severity.

The most common nail infection symptoms include:

  • Crumbling, brittle, or ragged nails
  • White to yellow-brown discolouration
  • Thickened nails
  • Foul smelling nails
  • Nails that are distorted in shape
  • Darkened nails caused by debris building up under the nail
  • Nail may lift up from nail bed
  • Yellow-greenish pus-filled abscesses around or under the nail
  • Redness or swelling around the nail
  • Tenderness or pain
What causes nail infections?

Nail infections are usually caused by either bacterial or fungal infections.

Nail infections can sometimes be caused by biting or picking finger nails, manicures, or having ingrown nails. However, they also commonly result from having frequently wet hands, finger or toe injuries, or regular contact with chemicals that can damage skin or nails.

Certain people have higher risks of experiencing nail infections, including:

  • Diabetics
  • People whose hands are frequently wet (cleaners, dishwashers, etc.)
  • Other skin conditions like dermatitis
  • People with weakened or lowered immune systems
How are nail infections diagnosed?

In most cases, the doctor will be able to provide a diagnosis for nail infections after evaluating the symptoms and signs of nail infections you’re experiencing. They’ll also have to do a physical exam to determine the type of infection and its severity.

Uncommonly, the healthcare provider may suggest that pus or discharge from the infection be tested in order to narrow down the specific type of infection.

Once you have a nail infection diagnosis, the healthcare provider will be able to suggest appropriate nail infection treatments for your condition. This includes any prescription nail infection medications that you may require.

How are nail infections treated?

The type of nail infection treatments that your healthcare provider recommends depends on the severity of your condition. It will also take into consideration whether your condition is acute or chronic, and the cause of the infection.

Things you can do to help your fungal infection:

  • Trim your nails straight across
  • Do not share nail trimming tools
  • Keep your feet clean and dry – change your socks throughout the day if you must wear closed toed-shoes
  • Use antifungal powder or spray daily
  • Do not go barefoot in public spaces – showers, pools/splash pads, locker rooms

In some cases, for infections around the nail, the healthcare provider may suggest soaking the affected finger or toe in warm water three to four times a day.

For fungal infections and serious bacterial infections, the healthcare provider may suggest prescription nail infection medications, like antibiotics or antifungal drugs.

Chronic nail infections can take weeks or months of topical or oral treatments before you see reduced signs of nail infections. Treatment is successful in 50% of cases, and there is risk it can come back even after it is treated. Severe fungal infections can require the nail to be surgically removed.

In severe cases, the healthcare provider may also need to drain pus from abscesses, as part of your nail infection treatments.

It is important to have your nail infections treated to prevent permanent damage to your nails and risk of spreading the infection to the surrounding skin.

When to see a doctor for nail infections?

If you believe you’re experiencing a nail infection, you should speak to your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause of your nail infections, and the most effective nail infection treatments for your condition.

In some cases, especially serious nail infections, you may require prescription nail infection medications to treat your condition. A healthcare provider from Maple can get you the help you need to get your infection under control.

Don’t ignore your pain. Infections can be serious if they’re left untreated. Let Maple help you get back on the path to good health.

What is Maple?

With Maple, you can start talking to a healthcare provider about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare app for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors.

You simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll immediately connect you to a doctor via live chat or video. You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

Our healthcare team can assess symptoms, and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary.

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