What kills fungi fast?
OTC and Home Remedies for Foot Fungus
Do your toenails split, peel, and turn yellow? If so, you may be one of an estimated 40 million Americans who live with toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis. The good news is, you don’t have to live like this. A number of remedies can help you walk with confidence. Here are 10 that you can buy at your local drugstore. You may even have some of them in your medicine cabinet. Although these may not be as effective as medicines your doctor can prescribe, they might be worth a try:
This fungus fighter is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) products. You can buy it at your local drugstore as a liquid or a polish you paint onto your nails. It eases the raw, irritated skin that can come with a fungus.
This is a staple in OTC products for athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. It comes in a cream, powder, spray, or liquid. You may feel relief after 2 to 3 days, but keep using it for at least 2 weeks after symptoms disappear.
You’ll find this in many OTC yeast infection creams. But it’s also used to treat toenail fungus. Scientists in the U.K. found it worked for most of the patients who used it in a 12-week trial.
You can buy it as a cream or lotion.
You may know this by its brand name, Lamisil. You can buy it over the counter as a cream, gel, spray, or powder. Or you can ask your doctor to prescribe the drug in pill form. Take one tablet each day for 12 weeks. It’ll kill toenail fungus, but it may take a few months to see full results. Also, you will need to be tested periodically to make sure the drug has not affected your liver function.
Tea Tree Oil
This oil comes from a tree in Australia. It’s a popular treatment for many conditions, including foot fungus. Research shows it works as well as clotrimazole, which is found in many OTC treatments.
You probably already use this to treat chest colds. But did you know vapor rub is also a popular home remedy for toenail fungus? There’s not a lot of proof that it works. But in one very small study — just 18 people — more than half said it did.
Don’t be afraid of the name. This fungus fighter comes from a plant, not snakes. People who tried this natural remedy found it worked almost as well as ciclopirox, a medicine used to treat skin infections caused by a fungus.
In the lab, plain old sodium bicarbonate limited growth of the most common types of fungi that cause skin and nail infections. You probably have a box in your pantry already.
Ozonized Sunflower Oil
Who knew sunflower oil can also fight germs? One study found that this natural remedy worked against yeasts that cause foot fungus. There’s more work to do, but so far, researchers don’t see any side effects.
People love this popular plant because of its fresh scent. But it does more than smell good. It also works on toenail fungus. Scientists say it may work just as well as treatments you get from your doctor.
The Corvallis Clinic: “Toenail Fungus.”
National Library of Medicine: “Undecyclenic Acid Liquid.”
National Center for Biotechnology Information: “Tolnaftate.”
National Library of Medicine: “Tolnaftate.”
Davies, K. The International Journal of Clinical Foot Science, Jan. 20, 2006.
National Library of Medicine: “Terbinafine.”
Cleveland Clinic: “Tea Tree Oil.”
Derby, R. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, January/February 2011.
American Family Physician: “Onychomycosis: Current Trends in Diagnosis and Treatment.”
Sechi, L. Journal of Applied Microbiology, February 2001.
Bramston, C. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, September 2015.
If you have ever had athlete’s foot or a yeast infection, you can blame a fungus. A fungus is a primitive organism. Mushrooms, mold and mildew are examples. Fungi live in air, in soil, on plants and in water. Some live in the human body. Only about half of all types of fungi are harmful.
Some fungi reproduce through tiny spores in the air. You can inhale the spores or they can land on you. As a result, fungal infections often start in the lungs or on the skin. You are more likely to get a fungal infection if you have a weakened immune system or take antibiotics.
Fungi can be difficult to kill. For skin and nail infections, you can apply medicine directly to the infected area. Oral antifungal medicines are also available for serious infections.
- Fungal Diseases (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Fungal Culture Test (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Rash Evaluation (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Skin Rashes and Other Problems (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Sputum Culture (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Fungus Infections: Preventing Recurrence (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology)
- Who Gets Fungal Infections? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Cancer Patients and Fungal Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Hospitalized Patients and Fungal Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Medications that Weaken Your Immune System and Fungal Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Organ Transplant Patients and Fungal Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Outbreaks and Investigations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Stem Cell Transplant Patients and Fungal Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Blastomycosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- C. gattii Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Cryptococcosis (C. neoformans) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Fungal Diseases: Ringworm (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Fungal Keratitis (American Academy of Ophthalmology) Also in Spanish
- Fungal Meningitis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Fungal Sinusitis (American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery)
- Mucormycosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Nail Fungal Infections (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Nail Fungus (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Sporotrichosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Tinea Versicolor (American Academy of Dermatology)