Healthy Nail Guide

Nail fungus is one of the most common issues affecting nails and research suggests that many consumers find it a difficult problem to treat, often leading to worry and distress. A new survey found that a huge number – 67% – of people were triggered to find a solution to their fungal nail due to the nail’s unsightly appearance. Coming into spring and summer acts as a natural motivator for treatment. In fact, the survey found that 41% of people are ashamed to show off their bare feet in the warmer months, while 34% of people hate the way their feet look all year round.

What is nail fungus?

The medical term for a fungal nail infection is ‘onychomycosis’. It is a common fungal infection that affects the nails. The infection can cause the nail to discolour and become brittle, making them easier to split or break. They may also be crumbly or thick in nature. On occasion, fungal nails can cause pain on the nail bed from the thickening.

Is nail fungus contagious?

When a fungal infection begins, you may start to notice discolouration on a small aspect of your nail and notice it get larger over time. For chronic cases this may already have spread to the majority of the nail if not the entire nail. The discolouration can appear white, yellow, or even darker brown in colour depending on the individual. As the fungus spreads further changes in the nail can be caused. The nail can become brittle, ‘chalky’, and you may notice it breaks easily, and there may be an odour present. With chronic infection the nail may become thickened, and the nail may start to separate from the nail bed meaning it is no longer attached to the fleshy aspect of your toe and odour may be more prominent.

How can I prevent nail fungus?

Hygiene

Hygiene is very important for the prevention of fungal nails and to reduce spreading the infection to other nails. Make sure to wash your feet daily using soap and water. Straight after washing your feet, dry them thoroughly with a towel including in-between the toes.

Nailcare

Secondly, ensure your nails are cut regularly and well, using nail clippers or nail scissors. When cutting your nails remember to leave a small white free edge. Make sure the tools you use to cut the nails are clean and your own. Refrain from sharing nail clippers or scissors or ripping nails off when they have become long or split.

Footwear

Fungus thrives in wet, damp, and moist environments and our feet have over 250,000 sweat glands. Whether you feel it or not your feet release sweat and create the perfect environment for nail fungus. One step towards prevention is to always wear socks with your footwear. There are many lengths and types of sock available on the market to meet your style requirements. It would be ideal to wear moisture wicking and breathable socks that absorb sweat to help keep your feet dry in your shoes and allow air to pass to help regulate temperature. This can prevent the feet from becoming too hot and sweaty. If you naturally have a sweaty foot type, it would be advisable to change your socks during the day.

Change your footwear on a regular basis, let them air out, wash them if applicable and make sure they are thoroughly dry before wearing them again. Refrain from sharing socks and shoes with others.

 

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