Women love wearing open-toe shoes and sandals but not so much so when they are experiencing a toenail fungus that results in gross looking toenails. When afflicted, the nails get thick and yellow. The infected nails become thick and dark. They eventually become quite fragile and break off. When nail fungus is not treated it spreads. The infection is caused by fungus that just love to live in damp, dark locations, such as inside a shoe or sock.
The use of unsanitary equipment in a salon or at home can lead to nail fungus, which is very contagious. Do not share nail clippers with anyone. When you go to a salon, look around and see if it appears to be sanitary. Do the manicurists share tools? They should not engage in this practice. If you see anything that makes you wince, turn around and walk out the door.
When experiencing a nail fungus, the main concern may be the aesthetics of the nails. And, yes, this is a concern because there is nothing attractive about nails plagued by fungus. But even more importantly, consider the pain that can result and the damage done everlastingly to the nail if the condition isn’t treated. In a worse case scenario a nail fungus can lead to life-threatening infections. A person who is already sick and suffering from an impaired immune system as the result of leukemia or AIDS, is diabetic or has had an organ transplant is really at risk.
WHAT TO DO?
You may have to forgo wearing nail polish for awhile. Polish is a resistant barricade that prevents air from reaching the nail plate. Fungus proliferates when there is no air circulating. The natural tendency, of course, is to use nail polish to cover up the fungus but this is going to backfire. The polish traps moisture and this exacerbates the infection. Additionally, polish has chemicals in it that are detrimental to the nail structure, which makes it that much easier for fungus to get into the nail.
To keep nails healthy they must be kept dry and exposed to the air occasionally. Expose your feet to the air at some point every day. Remove shoes and socks and go barefooted around your house. However, it’s not a good idea to go barefooted when you are in public areas, such as a community swimming pool or the locker room at the gym, because these environments are where bacteria proliferate. Keep your feet dry. Wearing socks that contain wicking (which means that the sock pulls moisture from the skin into the sock material) helps prevent fungal infections. Proper care of nails reduces the likelihood of a nail infection. Cut nails regularly, cutting them straight across. If there are thick areas on the nail, file them down. When a nail is obviously infected, wash your hands with soap after touching the nail. Over-the-counter powders and antifungal sprays can be used and are helpful.
DID YOU KNOW? …
Those individuals taking antibiotics are more inclined to toe fungus because the medication destroys beneficial bacterium in addition to the infection that is being treated. To get useful bacteria back into the body, taking probiotics can help.
The term ‘probiotics’ comes from the Greek words “pro” and “biotic” meaning promoting life. These live microorganisms (bacteria) when taken in sufficient amounts bestow health on the person taking them.
It is necessary to maintain the proper equilibrium in the digestive system between good and bad bacteria. The symmetry can be upset when a person has a poor diet, is sick or taking medication. Eating foods that contain probiotics helps an individual maintain that balance. Probiotics are found in yogurt and some cereal and dairy items. You may experience a reduction in the occurrence of nail fungus by making probiotics a regular part of your diet.
If your nails have become discolored and you suspect you have a fungus, a podiatrist can determine the cause of the infection by taking a sample of the nail and testing it. The particular infection you are experiencing is revealed and can be appropriately and effectively treated.
About the Author
Adam Lambert writes for the Houston Nail Clinic, whose mission is to rid the world of fingernail fungus and toenail fungus. Writing about treatment for toenail fungus allows people to learn about the best methods for getting rid of this unsightly infection.
This article is for information only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the views of RxEconsult, LLC.