Nail fungal infections are one of the most common skin conditions. It is also known as onychomycosis. Some people are at a high risk of a fungal infection than others. Such infections account for half of the nail disorders. Fungus is usually present in our body but should not exceed to undesired levels. Both fingernails and toenails are prone to fungal infections. However, toenails are more affected than fingernails. Let us learn about common causes, symptoms and prevention of nail fungal infections.
Fungal infections affect our nails adversely. Foot fungus symptoms include:
- Thick nails
- Yellow color
- Breakage of nails
- Disfigured shape
- Debris under the nail surface
- Bad smell and pain
- White or yellow dots
The fungi usually infect a nail through cuts and cracks around the nail skin. The area beneath the nail surface is suitable for fungal growth. That is why nail fungus is common in toenails as they are in a closed space. If not treated, the infection can spread to other areas of skin or nails.
CAUSES OF NAIL FUNGUS
Fungi, yeasts and molds cause most of the nail infections. All of them result in similar symptoms.
Most common causes of nail fungus are dermatophytes. Other than that yeast Candida cause most of the fingernail infections. Yeasts cause approximately 8% of nail infections. On the other hand, molds cause just 2% of them. Fungi cells remain active in our body for a long time. Hence, there is always a risk of recurrence.
The risk of infection increases according to these factors:
Climate: Fungal infections are common in hot and humid places.
Age: The risk increases with age. Therefore, it is common in older people. Fungal infections are rare in children below 6 years.
Health: The risk increases in case of these health conditions
- Athlete’s foot
- Nail Surgery
- Nail Injury
- Other nail infections
- Poor blood circulation
- Weak Immune System
Lifestyle: These lifestyle factors also affect your nail health
- Wet feet and hands
- Spending excess time in water
- Not wearing shoes in public showers & locker rooms
- Tight shoes
- Sweaty feet
- Wearing gloves for a long time
- Skin to skin contact with anyone having a fungal infection
- Sharing towels or nail clippers
Infected nails break and split easily. Sometimes, a white dot appears on the nail which gets bigger with time. Therefore, it is also known as a white toenail fungus. If not treated in time, there is a risk of spreading the infection to other body parts.
WHAT TO USE
Treatment of nail fungus depends upon the cause and intensity of infection. Topical and oral medications are used to get rid of nail fungus. Oral medications are aggressive and have a risk of side effects. On the contrary, topical treatments are easy to apply and have no side effects.
ZetaClear is one such FDA approved nail fungus treatment. It uses the strength of natural oils to fight nail fungus in just weeks. Apply it to the infected nails three times a day for best results. Moreover, it prevents the growth of fungus cells permanently.
As they say prevention is always better than cure. The first step is to maintain proper nail hygiene. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep nails clean and dry
- Disinfect nail clippers after each use
- Don’t pick or bite nails
- Avoid artificial nails and polishing them
- Wear sweat absorbent synthetic socks
- Use anti-fungal sprays or powders
- Wash hands after touching infected nails
- Avoid sharing shoes, towels and socks
- Wear rubber gloves
- Change shoes regularly
- Discard old shoes
Take Care of Your Toes
Wash your feet with soap and water. And dry them properly including between toes. Trim your toenails regularly and keep them short. Make sure to clean all the nail tools properly. Avoid temptation to cover discolored nails with nail paint.
Keep Feet Dry and Clean
Choose your footwear smartly. Wear socks that absorb moisture and change them regularly. Your shoes should allow air to pass through. Wear shoes in public areas such as locker rooms and gyms.
Know Your Toes
Take a good look at your skin around the nails. Watch for any unusual changes or symptoms in context of color and texture. If the infection worsens, consult a doctor for appropriate course of action.
To prevent fungal infections, one should consider making simple lifestyle changes. Above all, a healthy diet can prevent such infections to a great extent. Taking good care of your nails and protecting them from any sources of infection is the best way to prevent them.