Nail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis, is a nail infection caused primarily by a class of fungi called dermatophytes. This is the same fungus that causes shingles. Infections can attack parts of your nails, including nail plates, nail beds, and roots. However, 85% of fungal nail infections occur under the nail plate, in the nail bed. Fungal nail infections are seven times more common on toenails than toenails.
Fungal nail infections are highly contagious. They are easily caught in places where you go barefoot, such as locker rooms or swimming pools, or with unsterilized equipment in nail and beauty salons. If you touch an infected person and forget to wash your hands, the infection will quickly develop. Sharing contaminated items such as towels, sheets, and clothing can also spread infection.
Treating a fungal nail infection can be a long process because nails grow slowly, so you may only see improvement as new nails grow. Nail infections are also recurrent. To prevent recurrent fungal nail infections, it is important to take care of the feet and nails properly. Be sure to treat the infection, whether herpes zoster or onychomycosis, as soon as you start noticing symptoms.
Top tips to prevent infection at home:
- Get rid of old shoes, especially shoes you use while exercising.
- If you suffer from herpes zoster, be sure to treat it, as the fungus can also infect your toenails. Don’t use the same accessories or nail tools on normal and infected nails - buy two sets to avoid contamination.
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly after an infection or fungal treatment.
- Take care of your feet - keep them neat and clean. Nails should be cut straight (not round or V -shaped).
- Wear shoes that fit your feet and legs - high heels and shoes with tight toes can damage the natural skin between the nail and the skin underneath, causing fungal penetration under the nail.
- Make sure other family members treat their fungal infection right away and take similar precautions.
- Remove hands and feet after contact with contaminated areas, as well as infection -carrying bed sheets and towels. Disinfectant soap works well for everyday use.
- If nail fungus is found in someone in the household, it is not enough just to avoid contact with the affected area. It is very important to disinfect the surface, especially in humid environments, where microorganisms multiply rapidly. First of all, we are talking about the bathroom. Sprays that kill microorganisms and bacteria can be used to disinfect small surfaces.
Top general tips to prevent infection:
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places and wear slippers or slippers in public locker rooms, showers, and areas around the pool.
- If walking barefoot is unavoidable (for example, in some sports and wrestling on a mat), disinfect your skin and nails as soon as possible, using a disinfectant soap. If water is not available, use an antiseptic tissue or skin disinfectant for early disinfection. Then treat the skin with an antifungal agent.
- Bring your own nail care accessories to your nail salon, including scissors, shears, nail files, razors.
- Make sure the tools in your nail salon are cleaned and sterilized properly after the previous client.
Avoid spreading the infection
Fungal nail infections are contagious, so keep this in mind while you are infected. It is best to protect your feet and not share clothes, shoes, towels or sheets. To prevent the spread of infection, always wash your hands after doing the treatment, and remember to use different towels for your feet and body. It’s a good idea to tell your loved ones about a fungal nail infection so they don’t forget to take similar precautions.
When must you see a doctor?
You should see a doctor if you notice greenish-yellowish or black pigmentation on your nails or under your nails. If you have diabetes or are pregnant, see your doctor before starting treatment.
Do you know?
. . . Biting your nails and using artificial nails can increase the risk of getting a fungal nail infection!
… Fungal nail infections affect 10% of the world's population!