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Why Treatment is Required

Although dermatophyte onychomycosis is relentlessly progressive there remains a view among many patients and even some practitioners that it is a trivial cosmetic problem that does not merit treatment.

In the elderly the disease can give rise to complications such as cellulitis and therefore further compromise the limb in those with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease. While these complications may not be common they are certainly serious. The high prevalence of the disease is the result of heavy contamination of communal bathing places by infected users; disinfecting the floors of such facilities is very difficult because fungal elements are protected in small pieces of keratin. It is therefore logical to try to reduce the number of infected users by effective treatment and thus reduce disease prevalence.

Finally, onychomycosis is a surprisingly significant cause of medical consultation and of absence from work. Onychomycosis should not therefore be considered a trivial disease, and there is a sound case for treatment on the grounds of complications, public health considerations and effect on quality of life.

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