You see something strange in your nails and you think it might be a fungal infection. Your daughter, next-door neighbor and friendly manicurist believe it is. Still, you’re not sure and spend the whole night thinking about it.

Before your hair gets white from worrying, here’s ...You see something strange in your nails and you think it might be a fungal infection. Your daughter, next-door neighbor and friendly manicurist believe it is. Still, you’re not sure and spend the whole night thinking about it.

Before your hair gets white from worrying, here’s something you should remember: not all funny-looking nails are fungal. In fact, there’s a great chance you don’t have the infection at all unless you’re overweight, walk barefoot in public places, are continuously exposed to warm, moist environments, and share shoes, nail files, and nail clippers with other people.

Although onychomycosis or ringworm of the nail is a common disease, it often starts as a small spreading white or yellow spot on the nail. As the disease progresses, it causes the infected nail to become discolored, thickened or deformed. The skin around the nail may become itchy, red or swollen. Untreated, the affected nail becomes painful and it may have a foul smell.

If the toenails are involved, there is scaling on the sides of the foot which is often mistaken as “dry skin.” For some unknown reason, onychomycosis rarely affects the hands unless both feet have the infection.

“Even stranger is the striking tendency of fungus to affect only one hand at a time. If one or more nails are yellowish and crumbly on one hand but not on the other -- and both feet are involved -- fungus is likely. Otherwise, fungus is less likely to be the culprit,” said WebMD.

If your nails look funny but you don’t have the above symptoms, chances are your condition is caused by something else. Here are other symptoms that are usually mistaken for onychomycosis courtesy of WebMD:

Lines and ridges - are common with aging and nothing to worry about.

Whitish or yellowish nails – are the result of onycholysis, the separation of the nail from the nail bed. The color is caused by air and the nail returns to normal in two to three months.

Red or black nails - are due to a hematoma or blood under the nail. This happens when the nail is injured and goes away by itself.

Green nails - are caused by pseudomonas bacteria that multiply when the nail separates from the nail bed. Again, this disappears in two to three months.

Swelling and redness of the skin around the nail - is called paronychia and is caused by a yeast that infects a damaged cuticle. This can be treated with a topical anti-yeast cream.

To erase whatever doubts you may have about your strange or funny-looking nails, consult a doctor at the earliest possible time. The earlier treatment is started, the better to reduce the risk of complications arising from the infection. Important points to consider when choosing an oral antifungal drug are safety, treatment time, and price. One popular product is Somasin AFS, a safe and effective herbal formula that can stop stubborn fungal nail infections in just seven days. Go to http://tinyurl.com/8jkw6ma for details.

Author's Bio: 

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine http://www.thearticleinsiders.com.