Nails infected with fungus, also known as onychomycosis, become discolored, thick and brittle. Nail fungus can be difficult to treat due its high recurrence rate. Therefore it is better to prevent getting a fungal infection than to try to treat one.
Fungal nail infections are caused by different types of fungi; the most common being dermatophytes. They can also be caused by molds and yeast. These organisms thrive in dark, moist environments.
Adults, more commonly than children, develop fungal nail infections. Causes include, trauma to the nail plate, inherited tendency, compromised immune system (for example people with diabetes), poor circulation, walking barefoot in communal areas and history of Athlete’s foot.
Follow the tips below to prevent a fungal nail infection.
- Dry your feet and in between your toes well after showering.
- Always wear a breathable shoe, such as leather.
- Use an antifungal spray to disinfect shoes. Fungal spores can live in your foot wear which leads to reinfection.
- Wear moisture wicking socks – synthetic or wool are best. If your socks become wet, change them.
- Do not walk barefoot in public places. Always wear shoes or flip flops in locker rooms, public showers and public pools.
- Keep your nails short to minimize debris under the nail. Always cut your nails straight across.
- Prevent microtrauma to the nails by wearing shoes that are the proper size with a wide, deep toe box.
Stay tuned for my next blog outlining how nail fungus is treated!