All About Nail Fungus
Nail fungus– what is it?
Nail fungus is an infection, occurring in the finger and toe nails, although it is far more common in the toe nails, which provide the ideal conditions for its growth, such as darkness, heat, and moisture. It is affects children and adults equally.
The infection is caused by a fungus embedded in the deep layers of the flesh of the toe. It spreads very swiftly and sets its roots firmly. Its symptoms are identifiable by itching, an unpleasant odor, nails that are dry, crumbly, and thick, separation of the nail from the toe, and local pain.
Nail fungus is prevalent through all seasons of the year, although it certainly spikes during the summer months, when sandals and thongs expose the toes, and people attend public swimming pools and water parks, allowing for the condition to spread from person to person.
It is not a dangerous condition, however without appropriate treatment, it can spread across to all toes or fingers, creating the right conditions for bacterial skin infections to develop. If that were to occur, treating the nail fungus would be far more complicated and would take longer than usual.
Nail fungus – stages of development
Nail fungus begins as a small white or yellow mark on the nail that gradually spreads along the length of the nail.
At the intermediate stage the nail becomes a dark yellowish color.
As it advances, the nail becomes thick and begins to disintegrate from the sides. It can even detach itself from the toe or finger. These symptoms are often accompanied by pain and a bad odor.
Nail fungus – what are the causes and how do we avoid contracting it?
The main cause of nail fungus is lack of proper hygiene, such as using public showers without wearing thongs or other suitable shoes, where the chances of contamination are extremely high.
As well as lack of proper hygiene, the dark surrounds, heat, moisture, and sweat from wearing closed shoes for a substantial amount of time – many hours – provide optimal conditions for the nail fungus to develop.
Ensure that you always wear shoes or thongs in public bathrooms, showers, swimming pools, gyms, and other such places.
At nail salons, make sure that the utensils used are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before each use. Using unclean utensils can easily transmit the fungus from person to person.
Also, make sure to wash feet and toes especially well after sweating in closed shoes, and dry them completely.
Change socks frequently, as required. Cotton socks are best as cotton is a natural fabric that allows the foot to breath, producing less sweat compared to synthetic fabrics.
If your feet tend to sweat a lot, sprinkle them with talc powder, which will absorb the sweat. Take off your shoes often, and air out your feet as much as possible.
Here's to fresh, dry, healthy, airy feet!