Fungal toenail infection are one of the common nail problems. They are not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and take a long time to treat. Fungal nail infections usually affect your toenails but you can get them on your finger nails too.
There are various precautions that one can take in order to reduce the risk of spreading fungal toenail infections to others. This also help to increase the chances of a quick recovery. Its therefore important to look after one’s nails and prevent the spread of infection.
You can find signs of an early fungal infection by checking your nails and the skin around them at least once a month. You want to look for:
- Changes in nail color, such as a white spot or brown or yellow streak
- Changes to the texture of your nails
- Soreness or swelling around a nail
- Dry, itchy skin
12 Ways to Prevent Fungal Toenail Infections
Fungal infections are contagious, so you can easily get one. Taking the following precautions can reduce your risk of fungal toenail infection.
1. Keep your toenails short
When trimming your toenails, you want to cut them straight across. Also keep your toenails shorter than the end of your toes. This helps prevent fungi and other germs from getting under your nails.
2. Wear flip flops or shower sandals
Never walk barefoot in warm, moist areas like gyms, locker rooms, public showers and pools. This can prevent you from catching nail fungus and athlete’s foot.
3. Keep your feet clean and dry
Carefully wash your feet with soap and water every day, taking care to wash between your toes. Dry your feet well after washing them. You also want to avoid having damp or sweaty feet for too long. A damp, warm area provides the perfect area for fungi to thrive.
4. Change shoes
If you just finished treating a toenail infection, throw away shoes, boots, skates, and other footwear that you wore before you started treatment. Fungus can live in footwear, giving you another infection. If your footwear is expensive or new, you can disinfect them using an ultraviolet (UV) shoe sanitizer or ozone cabinet. You can buy these online.
5. Wear clean cotton socks daily
Put on a clean pair of socks every day and whenever your socks get sweaty. This helps prevent fungi from growing. Wearing moisture-wicking socks can also reduce the need to change your socks.
6. Wear proper shoes
Wear shoes that fit well (not tight) and are also made of leather, canvas, or mesh. Also keep your feet dry and prevent overheating. This helps prevent fungi from growing in your shoes. This greatly reduces your chances of catching a nail infection.
7. Alternate shoes
Fungi thrive in moist places like damp shoes. You can reduce this growth by giving shoes 24 hours to dry out before wearing them again.
8. Use antifungal powder
Sprinkle antifungal powder in your shoes. These products cannot treat a fungal infection, but they can help prevent fungus from growing in your shoes.
9. Sanitize your nail clipper before using it
To sanitize your nail clipper, wash it with soap and water. After that, then wipe it with rubbing alcohol. If you go to a salon for nail care, ask how often they disinfect nail clippers, emery boards, and other equipment. They should sanitize these after every client. If not, the equipment can spread a fungal nail infection from one client to another.
10. Never share your manicure and pedicure items
Never share nail clippers, shoes, skates, towels and other personal items. You can easily pick up a fungal nail infection by sharing a personal item. People also get athlete’s foot and ringworm (a fungal infection on the skin) by sharing personal items.
11. Moisturize dry skin
Fungi can get in through small cracks in your skin. To ease dry skin, moisturize within 5 minutes of bathing and after washing your hands.
12. Treat fungal infections correctly
For instance, if you get an infection such as jock itch, athlete’s foot, treat them the right away. Because they are also caused by fungus. These fungal infections can spread to your nails causing an infection.