What You Need to Know about Nail Fungus
Nail fungus can be a particularly difficult challenge. One of the primary concerns about an infection of the nail is that most of us never think about the potential we may have to develop such a condition. Infection of the toenail can lead to discoloration, thickening, and even breakage or deformation, so this is a problem that needs to be solved as quickly as possible. For this to happen, you need to know a few things about fungal infections of the nail.
You may have a greater risk than others.
Not everyone has the same susceptibility to nail infections, just like we all have our level of risk for common health conditions such as heart disease. Some people may be more vulnerable when it comes to fungus affecting the nails due to:
- Older age
- Circulatory disorders
- Low immunity
- Excessive sweating (of the feet)
The risk may also increase under certain circumstances, such as:
- Poor foot hygiene
- Regular manicures or pedicures
- Wearing closed-toed shoes more often than not
- Damp work areas
- Use of public pools, gyms, or showers
With a little effort, you can catch early warning signs of fungal infection.
The earlier that a nail infection is caught and treated, the more successful that treatment will be. It is important to remove nail polish every so often to fully observe the nail bed on fingernails and toenails. Indications of early infection include slight yellow or white spots at the nail tip. As the infection progresses without treatment, symptoms such as nail brittleness, lifting, dulling, thickening, and yellow or white streaking may occur.
It’s more beneficial to see a dermatologist for potential nail infection and discover there is none than to postpone examination while infection festers.
It’s possible to prevent nail infection.
Because nail infection can take some time to resolve, prevention is a much better approach to hand and foot care. Due to the environment in which fungus thrive, toenail infections are much more common than infection of the fingernails. It is important to:
- Wash feet and clip nails regularly (fingernails, also!). Consider using a nail brush to remove debris and microorganisms from the cuticle line and under the nails.
- Do not share hygiene instruments like clippers and nail brushes.
- When using public showers or pools, wear water shoes.
- Wear flip-flops or slippers in the gym locker room.
- Choose nail salons carefully (look for licensure). Take your nail trimmers and files for use in your nail salon.
Call 610-594-6660 for more information on the diagnosis and treatment of nail disorders.