People suffering from a compromised immune system are naturally more likely to develop an infection, whether it is viral, bacterial, or fungal in nature. The concern for this issue is that without a strong immune response the infection can spread and progress to life threatening proportions.
A normally functioning immune system is typically capable of fighting an infection and controlling it, perhaps with the aid of a medication. At some point during a person’s lifetime they may experience a suppression of the immune system for one reason or another, which then allows the dormant fungus to become active causing health complications.
Onychomycosis, or nail fungus, is a gateway for fungus to cross the skin barrier. Normal health tissue is able to prevent invasion by dermatophytes or other harmful organisms, but if it is weak or compromised it opens up opportunities for the organisms to infect other areas of the body. For those that have a weak immune system a fungal infection can lead to pneumonia, septicemia and permanent organ, lung, or bone damage. In worst case scenarios, a seemingly simple nail infection can lead to death.
When the nails of an individual are infected, there is the risk that scratching the skin can inadvertently introduce the fungus into the tissue and blood stream. Scratching too hard, or accidentally scratching that annoying bug bite can have a strong health consequence.
Another big worry is that fungal infections take a long time to grow, and as such, they also take a long time to heal. This healing process is further compromised when the immune system is not functioning correctly. A longer period of recuperation means there is additional time given to opportunistic organisms to invade the body, creating secondary infections and further complicating the body’s ability to mend. Keep in mind the full period of recovery from toenail fungus for a healthy individual is 12 to 18 months, in immunocompromised persons this time is doubled.
Anyone who has an infection should be assessed by a health care provider, this is especially important for those who are immunosuppressed. The medical treatment plan should be followed carefully and until completed in full. It is often the desire of individuals to stop treatment early because they are feeling better or notice results, this is a very poor idea. The therapy required to clear a fungal infection from the body can take over a year in some cases, but is essential to limiting the negative health effects that can occur.
There are a number of different treatment options that have become available to people. Oral prescriptions and topical treatments such as lacquers, oils, and creams have been developed by pharmaceutical companies. There are also a number of natural home remedies that have gained favor with the medical profession. Once you have been diagnosed with a fungal infection discuss your treatment preferences with your medical provider to best create a plan that you will be willing to comply with. Also become familiar with how to avoid onychomycosis.