Prevention of Toenail Fungal Infection and Re-Infection
Toenail fungal infection is a common problem. As many as 35 million Americans suffer from this condition. Symptoms include spotted, thickened, and/or yellow toenails, brittleness or crumbling of the toenail, dulled or rough surface of the toenail, nail separating from the nail bed, and foul odor.
These toenail infections are caused by a fungal organism called a dermatophyte. These organisms thrive in warm, moist and dark environments. Shower/locker room floors, gyms, and pool areas are some of the places likely to be harboring this fungus. Since the inside of shoes is warm and dark and sometimes moist from perspiration, the fungus is in the perfect environment to live and grow.
Once the fungus gets onto the foot, it can get under the toenail and into the nail bed (where it lives) through invisible cracks in the skin around the nail. Once the fungus takes up residence under your toenail, it is extremely difficult to remedy.
Even after successful treatment of toenail fungal infection, it is very easy to become re-infected unless you take active measures to prevent this from happening. I’ve done extensive research into this condition over the past few years, and have put this list of preventative measures together for the benefit of all who may be interested in this subject:
· - Keep toenails trimmed short and cut them straight across – file down thicker areas.
· - Keep feet as dry and clean as possible – take off shoes whenever you can.
· - Wash feet daily and dry (THOROUGHLY) – use antifungal soap.
· - Wear socks designed to wick moisture away from skin.
· - Change hosiery or socks often – at least daily, more often if your feet sweat.
· - Do not wear sneakers for everyday shoes, they don’t allow the foot to breathe.
· - Wear shoes that fit well and switch shoes often.
· - NEVER wear someone else’s shoes!
· - Give toenails as much air as possible.
· - Sunlight may help kill the dermatophyte organism, since it thrives in the dark.
· - Don’t polish toenails or wear acrylic nails to hide them – nails can’t breathe through these.
· - Picking at skin around toenail can cause small cracks in skin and the organism can get under nail through these cracks.
· - Don’t go barefoot in any public places such as pools or locker rooms.
· - Make sure not to share nail files or clippers.
· - Clean all foot instruments in alcohol after using.
· - Use anti-fungal foot powders or spray inside shoes to get rid of fungus that may be living in shoes.
· - Be sure to ALWAYS wash hands thoroughly after touching an infected nail.
If you follow these simple tips with a diligence and commitment, you can prevent toenail fungal infection and/or re-infection.