Fungal Nail infections: Was it your shoes or the clippers at the salon? How to care for your nails

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KEY STORY

  • Many a time, a well-groomed person may inadvertently reveal a set of blackened toenails that do not seem to belong to that body. Most of the times, those blackened, broken nails will be a sign of fungal nail infections.
  • The person may not be aware of the infection in the nails, but the condition is commonplace. Infections of the fingernails or toenails can cause the nail to become discoloured, thick, and more likely to crack and break.
  • Infections are more common in toenails than fingernails. 1 The technical name for a fungal nail infection is “onychomycosis.”
  • A dermatologist is the best person to approach when you develop a fungal infection in the toenails.

    What are the symptoms of fungal nail infection?

    • Nails with a fungal infection are often:
    • Discoloured (yellow, brown, or white)
    • Thick
    • Fragile or cracked
    One does not even realise when a toe develops this fungal growth. That is because a fungal nail infection usually isn’t painful unless it becomes severe. In some cases, people who have fungal toenail infections also have a fungal skin infection on the foot. This infection is seen especially between the toes and is commonly called “athlete’s foot”.
    What is the source of fungal nail infections?
    Several types of fungi (yeasts or moulds) live in the environment. Small cracks in your nail or the surrounding skin can allow these germs to enter your nail and cause an infection.
    If your foot has been in a non-ventilated, warm, moist, dark setup like a shoe or socks for long, especially if the foot or the footwear contained germs, you are likely to develop athlete’s foot and fungal nail infection.
    Because it is a fungus, it thrives in the moist, warm climate of your gym locker room, bathrooms and showers. When your clean foot comes in direct contact with contaminated surfaces, most commonly within these shared communal spaces, you can develop an ‘athlete’s foot’ infection. Fungus is also brewing inside your sweaty, tight-fitting shoes.
    So, to ensure toenail and foot skin health, you must ensure that you do not allow the development of an atmosphere conducive to the growth of such opportunistic infections.
    Anyone can get a fungal nail infection. Some conditions do create an advantageous setting for the fungal infection to set in:
    1. A nail injury or nail surgery
    2. Diabetes
    3. A weakened immune system
    4. Blood circulation problems
    5. Athlete’s foot (ringworm on the foot)
    You can ensure that your toenails and feet remain healthy by following a few dos and don’ts.

    Dos:

    • United diagnosticss

      United diagnosticss
    • Keep your hands and feet clean and dry.
    • Clip your fingernails and toenails short and keep them clean.
    • Clip your fingernails and toenails short and keep them clean.
    • When at a beauty care salon, look around and ensure that its staff follow cleanliness SOPs
    • Interrupt your service staff if you feel the procedure he/she adopts during pedicure/manicure/foot massage etc spreads contaminants around.
    • Make sure the salon sterilizes its instruments (nail clippers, scissors, etc.) after each use.
    • Carry your own foot towel.

    Don’ts:

    1. Don’t walk barefoot in areas like locker rooms or public showers.
    2. Don’t share pedicure kit, toiletries, nail clippers with other people.
    3. Do not share things that are unsterilized and may have been shared by another person.
    4. Do not wear footwear or socks when even traces of moisture exist on foot or socks/shoes.
    5. Never rip or bite a hangnail. Instead, clip it with a clean, sanitized nail trimmer.
    Treatment for fungal nail infection:
    Fungal nail infections can be difficult to cure, and they typically don’t go away without antifungal treatment, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The best treatment for a fungal nail infection is usually prescription antifungal pills taken by mouth. In severe cases, a doctor might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
    Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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