Fungal Nail Infections
Fungal infections can run rampant, especially during the summer. Fungus thrives in warm, dark, and damp places, which means that public pools, locker rooms, and even your shoes make a great breeding ground. You can protect yourself and your family from getting a fungal infection by taking a few extra precautions.
What is Nail Fungus?
Nail fungus is actually an infection that occurs beneath the nail. The tiny organisms get in through a cut in your skin, and once they take hold it can be difficult to get rid of them. Fungus will begin by causing discoloration of the nail, often turning it yellow. You might even notice a foul odor.
As time goes by, your nails will become thicker, and then they will start to crumble. An infection can be painful, but it isn’t always. Just because there is no pain associated with your condition doesn’t mean treatment shouldn’t occur. Fungus can spread like wildfire and can affect other areas in your body, such as your fingernails and the surrounding skin.
How Can You Prevent a Fungal Infection?
Prevention is crucial, because treatment for a fungal infection that has already started can be long and difficult.
Fungus loves warm, dark, and moist places. Public facilities that get a lot of foot traffic and possess these characteristics—locker rooms, pool decks, etc.—are popular places for the fungus to live and spread. When you go, make sure you bring shower shoes or flip-flops to protect your feet.
Your shoes are another favorite locale for fungus to multiply. That’s why it’s important to let your shoes dry out before wearing them again. You can even add a foot powder to kill any bacteria that may have snuck inside. Shoes take about a full 24 hours to dry, so be sure to have a few pairs that you can use.
Lastly, practice good grooming habits. Keep your nails in good condition so that an ingrown nail won’t cause a cut that fungus can enter your body through. To do this, trim your nails straight across and then file them down, and always wear shoes with plenty of wiggle room for your toes.
Getting Treatment for an Existing Infection
If you find yourself with a fungal infection, you must get treatment before it spreads. There are creams and medications out there, but they don’t usually do much good. The best form of treatment for fungus is laser therapy. This is a non-invasive and pain-free treatment that targets only the fungus and leaves the healthy tissue intact. If laser therapy fails you may need to have your nail surgically removed. Click here to read more about treatment options.
Seeking Medical Attention
You can find out more about fungal nails and how to prevent and treat them by calling Dr. Viedra Elison at (623) 584-5556. Schedule an appointment with us here at Fixing Feet Institute in Surprise, AZ and we will answer all of your questions and get you back on the path to healthy feet.