Dermatophytes are fungi that can cause infections of the skin, hair, and nails due to their ability to utilize keratin. Once detected, it is critical to start using a toenail fungus treatment in order to minimize the severity of any infection. The organisms colonize the keratin tissues and inflammation is caused by host response to metabolic by-products. These infections are known as ringworm or tinea, in association with the infected body part. Occasionally the organisms do invade the subcutaneous tissues, resulting in kerion development.
The organisms are transmitted by either direct contact with infected host (human or animal) or by direct or indirect contact with infected exfoliated skin or hair in combs, hair brushes, clothing, furniture, theatre seats, caps, bed linens, towels, hotel rugs, and locker room floors.
Depending on the species the organism may be viable in the environment for up to 15 months. There is an increased susceptibility to infection when there is a preexisting injury to the skin such as scares, burns, marching, excessive temperature and humidity.
Dermatophytes are classified as anthropophilic, zoophilic or geophilic according to their normal habitat.
Anthropophilic dermatophytes are restricted to human hosts and produce a mild, chronic inflammation.
Zoophilic organisms are found primarily in animals and cause marked inflammatory reactions in humans who have contact with infected cats, dogs, cattle, horses, birds, or other animals. This is followed by a rapid termination of the infection.
Geophilic species are usually recovered from the soil but occasionally infect humans and animals. They cause a marked inflammatory reaction, which limits the spread of the infection and may lead to a spontaneous cure but may also leave scars.
Find a reputable toenail fungus treatment as soon as possible once you realize that you may have a nail fungus infection.