Toenail fungus or Onychomycosis is a very stubborn and common problem. Topical treatments alone have never proven to be more than 25% effective, and oral medications, while touting success rates as high as 65%, have the risk of causing life-threatening liver problems.
What is toenail fungus?
Nail fungal infections, clinically known as Onychomycosis are typically caused by a type of fungus belonging to the category of dermatophytes. Yeasts and molds can also be responsible for nail fungal infections.
What causes toenail fungus?
Dark, warm and moist environments provide ideal breeding ground for fungi to thrive. As compared with the fingers, diminished blood circulation in the toes make it harder for your body’s immune system to detect and work to eliminate infections.
Can toenail fungus be spread from person to person?
Yes, nail fungus can spread from person to person, and it frequently occurs in family households. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to seek treatment to prevent the spread of the fungus to others.
What are the symptoms of toenail fungus?
Often times, nail fungal infection may barely be noticeable, starting out as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. It is all too common for early signs to go unnoticed, as the damage brought about by the nail fungus spreading deeper into the nail causes the nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges. By this point, one should consult a medical specialist to suppress further nail damage and the spread of infection.
Why treat toenail fungus?
If left untreated, serious infections can spread beyond your feet to other parts of the body, especially with those with suppressed immune systems due to medication, diabetes or other conditions.
If I have one infected toenail can I spread it to the other nails?
Yes, there is a risk that you will spread the infection to the other nails. This is both because nail fungus is extremely contagious and your shoes are already contaminated. Our shoes are warm and moist, which is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Even if you are seeking treatment, you should sanitize your shoes to prevent re-infection. I recommend the SteriShoe ultraviolet shoe sanitizer that kills 99.9% of microorganisms lurking inside shoes, you can read more about it here.
How do I prevent toenail fungus?
As the feet are more often neglected in personal grooming than with other parts of the body, regular preventative care should be taken as part of one’s daily regimen..
- Keep your nails dry, short and clean. Maintain trimmed nails and thoroughly dry your hands and feet, including between the toes after bathing.
- Wear socks that wick away moisture to keep your feet dry. Synthetic socks tend to do better than cotton or wool socks. If your feet sweat excessively, change your socks often and take your shoes off occasionally throughout the day.
- Use an antifungal spray or powder on your feet and the inside of your shoes.
- Wear rubber gloves when cleaning or washing dishes to avoid overexposure to water.
- Don’t trim or pick at the skin around your nails, it will give germs access to your skin and nails.
- Don’t go barefoot in public places.
- Choose a reputable manicure and pedicure salon, and make sure they sterilize their tools or bring your own.
- Give up nail polish and artificial nails to hide fungus, this can trap unwanted moisture and worsen the infection.
- Wash your hands after touching an infected nail as nail fungus can spread from nail to nail.
How should I treat toenail fungus?
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