Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a common condition that affects many individuals. It is more common on the toenails but can affect the fingernails as well. Usually it has a genetic predisposition, and once the nails become infected it can be difficult to cure.
Nail fungus is known to be contagious. Once one nail is affected it is likely to spread to other nails and other parts of the skin causing athlete’s foot. It usually begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. Over time it will grow thicker and start to crumble underneath.
Fungal nail infections are caused by the presence of fungi called dermatophytes, and in some cases mold or yeast. These fungi come about as a result of sweating, walking barefoot in locker rooms, gyms and public showers, or sharing of personal items such as nail clippers. When nails become brittle and begin to crack, this provides a portal of entry that fungi need to infect the nail. Patient’s with poor circulation and a weakened immune system are also far more susceptible to fungal infections.
How to Prevent Nail Fungus?
The best means of preventing nail fungus is to avoid walking barefoot in public common areas. It is also important to wear properly fitted, well-ventilated shoes to avoid trauma to the nails and keep feet dry. Do not share nail clippers and ensure nail salons are using properly sterilized equipment or bring your own. If you are genetically prone to fungal infections, disinfect your shower and shoes regularly to prevent re-infection.
In order to treat nail fungus, we may recommend the use of certain antifungals, either oral medication or topical creams. Prevention is key, so vinegar soaks and daily habits to keep a dry environment in the affected area are important. Lasers may also prove useful in resistant cases.
For more information about nail fungus, be sure to contact Nova Dermatology today.