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How do I Prevent a Fungal Nail Infection?

How do I Prevent a Fungal Nail Infection?

No one wants to get a nail fungus infection.  Who wants to face the embarrassment of taking off their shoes at the pool and revealing unsightly yellow, brittle nails? Who wants to deal with the pain such infections can cause?

The problem is many people just don’t know what causes fungal nail infections and so they don’t know how to prevent them.

Easy to Follow Steps for Nail Fungus Prevention

The following is a list of easy to follow steps you can take to prevent fungal nail infections:

    • Keep your hands and feet dry – Moisture is one of the main causes for most skin and nail infections.  Minimize your chances of getting a nail fungus infection by keeping your hands and feet dry as much as possible. For example, when washing dishes, wear rubber gloves.


    • Wear synthetic socks, avoid cotton ones – Wet feet definitely increase your chances of getting a nail fungus infection. Synthetic socks are often better at keeping your feet dry as compared with cotton ones which tend to absorb water. If you must wear socks (because of work, etc.), make sure to change them daily; especially if your feet sweat a lot. Oh, and while seated at your desk, when no one knows any better, take your shoes off for a bit and let your feet cool off.  


    • Keep those flip-flops on – Wet public shower floors – like the one at your local pool or gym – can be a breeding ground for nail fungi and other harmful bacteria. To keep your chances of picking up a nail fungus infection minimal, wear slippers in the locker room or shower.


    • Trim your nails and keep them clean – This is self-explanatory and what your mom always told you!


    • Stop picking at the skin surrounding your nails – Broken skin or small wounds around your nails can be an entry point for nail fungus and other bacteria. Avoid trimming, pulling, or biting the skin around your nails.


    • Avoid injuring your nails – Following from the previous point, always wear comfortable, roomy shoes which don’t hurt your feet or your nails. A nail injury is one of the prime suspects in a repeat nail fungus infection.


    • Choose a reputable manicurist/pedicurist – If you regularly get manicures or pedicures done, ensure you go to a reputable salon where the staff always uses sterile instruments.  Also beware of certain nail care products which can actually damage your nails or cuticles making them more susceptible to nail fungus infection.    


    • Say NO to nail polish or fake nails – You might think that red nail polish is a great way to hide your nail infection, but the truth is nail polish can actually trap moisture and further aggravate nail infections.


    • Wash your nails after touching an infected nail – Fungal nail infections can actually spread from one nail to another, so if you’ve touched an infected nail, wash your hands.


    • Don’t share shoes, socks or nail clippers – This follows from the point above.  Just as fungal infections can spread from one nail to another, similarly they can spread when you share personal items such as shoes, socks, nail files or nail clippers.


    • Get rid of very old shoes – Not only are old shoes unattractive and often full of odors, they might also be home to lots of nail fungus spores.  So get rid of old shoes that have served their time.


    • Keep chronic illness under control (e.g. diabetes) – Illnesses such as diabetes, when left uncontrolled, can often prevent wounds from healing and thus can facilitate infections, including nail fungus.  If you are diabetic, keep your symptoms under control.


    • STOP SMOKING!! – Okay so this one isn’t so easy… but it sure is important!  As if there aren’t enough harmful effects of smoking, here’s one more to add to the list: smoking can lead to or aggravate nail fungal infections!


    • Before going to Bed – Finally, before going to bed, thoroughly wash your hands and feet and apply a topical antifungal directly on your nails or skin. Some recommended antifungals include ciclopirox (Penlac) or terbinafine (Lamisil).


Do you have any better suggestions for preventing a fungal nail infection?  Please share them with us below!


(Image Courtesy of Othertree)

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