What You Need To Know About Nail Fungus

fungal nail infectionWe are getting into the time of year in which sandals replace boots. The last thing you want is to feel compelled to hide your feet due to nail fungus. A fungal nail infection may develop beneath the fingernail, as well, though toenails seem to be more commonly affected. Nail fungus can be a frustrating problem that causes brittleness, fragility, discoloration or thickness. We’ll just get straight to the point and say that its far better to avoid this problem than having to treat it. Here is what you need to know.

  • You may be more susceptible than others.
  • Fungal nail infection is more prevalent among older adults.
  • Poor circulation or low immunity increases risk.
  • Nail conditions are more common in individuals with conditions such as hyperhidrosis, psoriasis, and diabetes.
  • If nails become deformed or otherwise diseased, fungal infection is more likely.

General health isn’t the only factor in susceptibility. The fungus that infects nails loves certain environments, including:

  • Close-toed shoes.
  • Public showers and pools
  • Damp areas
  • The basin of your nail salon (sorry, folks!)

Nail fungus can “jump” from one foot to another. This type of infection is contagious. That’s why you may contract a fungal nail infection after a nice, soothing shower at your gym. Takeaway tip: wear shower shoes in public pools or showers.

Early treatment is easier treatment.
You may spot a fungal nail infection if you routinely take care of your nails. Some of the warning signs include spotting, either white or yellow, at the tip of the nail. Later, the nail may thicken or become brittle, may look dull, or may develop streaks of discoloration. Because treatment can be somewhat lengthy the more severe the infection becomes, it is important to schedule a dermatologic consultation at the first indication of symptoms.

You can reduce your risk of fungal nail infection.
Because fungi live in certain conditions, there are ways to protect yourself from unexpected infection:

  • Change your socks frequently if your feet tend to sweat excessively.
  • Take good care of your nails with regular grooming.
  • Wash your hands and nails every day.
  • Save your clippers and other grooming products for your personal use. Consider taking your personal clippers and files to your nail salon, too!
  • You don’t have to give up your mani-pedi routine. Just make sure your salon has efficient sterilization practices.

Do you think you may have a fungal nail infection? Call our Sugar Land dermatology office at (832) 770-6388.

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