What is nail fungus?
When small cuts in the skin surrounding the nail expose the nail or the skin underneath to yeasts, molds and different kind of fungi, fungal nail infection occurs. Fungi thrive in warm, moist places and can be contagious. Sharing personal items like towels or nail clippers or walking barefoot in public showers or pools can lead to nail fungus. Often, people with athlete’s foot may have the infection spread from the skin to their nails.
Untreated nail fungus can get worse. While nail fungus is uncomfortable at first, it may become painful over time, restricting activities like standing or walking for a long time. The fungus can spread to other parts of the skin and can even permanently damage the nail or nail bed. A fungal nail infection may can be a serious issue especially if you are diabetic or have a weak immune system.
Your nails will start turning yellow or white. They might get thicker; split or separate from the skin.
Nail fungus treatment
Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. If the infection is really bad, nail fungus medication like antifungal pills could be the best cure. However, they are known to be costly and could also have side effects. So you need to consult the doctor before and during such treatment. Other treatment options include over the counter nail fungus medicines that you can buy in the form of creams, lotions or nail polish. But even after treatment, nail fungus has a tendency to come back. Hence it is important to take the following preventive steps after treatment.
Nail Fungus Prevention
In order to stop fungal nail infection from recurring, it is important to take the following precautionary steps after treatment:
- Wash your hands after touching an infected nail.
- Get into the habit of regularly washing your hands and feet before you go to bed at night. Dry them off with a clean towel and apply some antifungal cream to the nail or skin. This is recommended for up to one year.
- Dry hands and feet are less likely to get an infection again. Sprinkle some powder to your dry hands and feet after a shower.
- Wear rubber gloves to keep your hands from getting overexposed to water. Be sure to dry them between uses.
- Wear sandals or shoes made of materials that don’t lock moisture inside.
- Wear socks, but make sure you change them when they feel damp and dry them properly.
- Refrain from sharing towels, nail clippers shoes and socks with others.
- Avoid wearing very old shoes- they may trigger fungal infection. If you must use them, disinfect them first using some antifungal powder.
- If you’re using a public shower, don’t go barefoot- wear shower sandals or shoes.
- Be careful while cutting your nails. Nail injury can trigger a fungal infection comeback.
- Curb the temptation to hide unsightly fungal nails under nail polish or artificial nails. It may do nothing more than worsen your case.
- If you’re going to a salon for manicure or nail treatments, ensure it’s authentic and safe and uses sterile equipments.