What causes a fungal nail infection?
Onychomycosis, a fungal nail infection, is a common condition caused by a particular type of fungus under the nail surface. The fungus can spread from person to person through direct contact or through carpets, socks, shoes and stockings. These microorganisms grow and spread in moist, warm environments, such as communal showers, gyms and swimming pools.
What does a fungal nail infection look like?
Healthy nails are smooth, pinkish and have a thin white stripe on the tip. Initially affecting a small portion of the nail and discolouring it, an infection may become white, yellow to brown, green and even black. If left untreated, the infection can spread deeper into the nail, resulting in the nail becoming thickened or flaky and in some cases the nail can become detached. You can talk to your doctor or use specific products to take care of it.
To prevent a fungal nail infection, you should always protect your feet from direct contact with the floor in swimming pools, showers and changing rooms by wearing pool slippers or flip-flops.
Also, always try to keep your feet dry by wearing breathable footwear and socks that absorb perspiration, changing them often, especially in warm weather.
Treatment of a fungal nail infection can take a long time and lots of care to make sure you avoid infecting healthy toenails:
- Always wash your hands after touching an infected nail
- Sterilise the tools used for pedicures by cleaning them thoroughly under hot water or using alcoholic wipes
- Do not use nail polish and fake nails while you’re treating a fungal nail infection, as they contribute to the growth and spread of fungi
To treat a mild fungal nail infection you can use products that create an unfavourable environment for fungi, treating the problem and helping to prevent the spread of infection.