When fungal agents called dermatophytes get underneath the bed of a finger or toenail, the environment is perfect for the developing nail fungus infection. Fungus lives well in warm, dark and damp environments so what better place could there be than the sheltered region under your nail? That’s also the primary reason that the infection is so difficult to treat. Getting at skin fungus infection is a walk in the park since the visual signs of where the fungal agents are attacking most heavily are obvious. But how do you look underneath a nail? So, nail fungus infections are very hard to eliminate AND difficult to detect in the early stages of infection. Yet another reason why this affliction should be avoided at all costs. Read below for 4 excellent tips that will steer you clear of nail fungus infections.
The fungus starts by attacking the nail when it is vulnerable. This can come in the form of a cracked nail, a nail cut too short, a hangnail, or any abrasion near the cuticle or nail bed. The fungal agent has to come from somewhere though and it’s up to you to avoid the high risk situations to stay fungus-free!
1. Personal hygiene is a must.
Keeping invading fungus off of your entire body is the best way to also keep it from your nails. Thoroughly clean and dry your feet with soap and water regularly (at least twice a day) and apply some form of lotion or moisturizing cream daily as well. Healthy skin is less likely to invite fungal agents and therefore fungal infections. Poorly cared for feet are a prime target for toenail fungus infections.
2. Wear a fresh pair of socks every day.
Socks should be made out of natural fibers such as silk, wool or cotton. These fibers allow moisture to pull away from the foot and circulate air around the foot and toe area. If your feet become damp during the day or your socks become soaked by sweat, take them off as soon as possible, dry your feet with a clean towel and put on a fresh pair of socks. It is best to avoid wearing socks and shoes all together when trying to prevent foot fungus. This leads us to our next step in fungus prevention.
3. Avoid publicly-used floors.
Gymnasium floors, locker rooms, bathrooms, public pools, recreation areas and public showers are all environments where fungal agents can live and be spread without and contact between people. The wet and warm environment of these public facilities allows fungus to live and multiply. ALWAYS wear shower shoes or sandals when walking around these areas or you risk picking up someone else fungal infection.
4. Be careful with nail salons.
Everyone has heard a story about a friend who came home with a beautiful pedicure only to find out a month later that a nail fungus infection came with it. You cannot be too careful at nail salons. Check to be sure ALL of the tools are cleaned after each appointment. Be certain your technician is using cleaned tools and that they are cleaned after each use. Fungal infections can be easily passed on through the use of uncleanly tools, whirlpool baths, brush applicators, etc.