Fungal nail infections usually happen on toenails, but fingernails can get them too, just not as frequently as the ones on the feet. When a person has a nail infection, the nails can look discoloured, cracked, dry, and painful. Fungal nail infections are widespread, and they are not serious. With proper fungal nail infection treatment, they can go away. Some people get them once in their life, and some get them many times over the years. For those who have them frequently, they must take preventive measures so that they don’t get infected again.
How to spot a nail infection
There are tell-tale signs that point to a fungal nail infection. These are the things you should look out for:
- The disease starts at the edges of the nail that progresses to the middle and the entire nail.
- There is discolouration.
- The nail lifts off the nail bed.
- The nail cracks and breaks off easily.
- There is pain or discomfort in and around the affected toenail.
Prevention is better than cure
There are simple things you can do so that you do not contract a fungal infection. You can make it a habit to do these things and not just when you feel like an infection is brewing in one of your toenails.
- Always keep your hands and feet dry. Fungi and other bacteria thrive and multiply in a wet or moist environment. Dry your feet thoroughly before you put on socks or shoes. Socks and shoes make the feet hot, and if your feet are still wet, fungi will slowly creep up your feet and inhabit your nails.
- Allow your feet to breathe. If you have to wear shoes for most of the day at work, you can take them off during breaks so you can air out your feet. They also sweat, so even if you dried your feet before wearing socks and shoes, they will still get moist.
- Do not share nail implements with others. If you are fond of getting your nails done in the salon, you can bring your own nail clippers and file. Also, keep your nails short.
- Always wear fresh and clean socks every day. Also, do not share socks and shoes with anyone else.
- Do not walk barefoot in public spaces like pools, toilets, bathrooms, or locker rooms. You don’t know if other people in the area have nail infections.
- If you have athlete’s foot, treat it right away to keep the infection from spreading to your nails.
- Replace old socks and shoes that may become breeding ground for fungi.
- Wear shoes that are light and not too tight. When your feet are encased in shoes every single day, you increase your risk of developing a fungal infection. Choose ones that are light and airy.
One important thing to note about having a nail infection is that if you have diabetes, you must consult your doctor right away, as nail infections can lead to diabetes complications. Once you notice an infection starting on even one toenail, get an appointment with your medical provider right away.