The words onychomycosis and tinea unguium may sound Greek to you, but they are actually the scientific names for a common fungal infection: toenail fungal infection. This type of fungal infection, as its name suggests, affects the toenails, leaving them thickened, cracked, and/or discolored. Toenail fungal infection develops gradually, and, for some people, it has already worsened before it gets noticed.
What Causes Toenail Fungal Infection
A toenail fungal infection happens when the fungi under or on the toenail overgrows. Since fungi proliferate in moist and warm environments, men are more prone to developing toenail fungal infection because of the shoes and socks that they wear. This fungal infection is caused by the same fungi that cause ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot.
How to Prevent Toenail Fungal Infection
- Maintaining a proper hygiene is vital to the prevention of toenail fungal infection. As the fungus can be easily passed from one person to another, it is important for you to be cautious of the things and the places that you use and go to. For instance, if you are at a salon to have your manicure or pedicure, always ask the staff how the tools that they used are sanitized. Nail clippers and other pedicure and manicure tools can transmit the nail fungus from another patent if they are not properly sanitized.
- Another way that can help you prevent toenail fungus is to ensure the cleanliness of your feet and toes. Wash them in a way you wash your face and other parts of your body. After washing your toes and feet, make sure that you dry them thoroughly, especially the space between the digits. Spraying an antifungal foot spray on your feet and socks before putting on your shoes can also be a great way to keep the toenail fungus at bay.
- Wearing a footwear that allows your feet to breathe is also an effective way to prevent toenail fungal infection. Avoid shoes that are too tight because they can cause your feet to sweat a lot and become moist. If possible, also change your socks three times a day.
- Staying away from public pools is also a good way to prevent toenail fungal infection. This is especially true if you see someone who has a toenail fungal infection swimming in it. Remember, toenail fungal infection can be easily transmitted and is highly contagious.
Who are at Risk of Having a Toenail Fungal Infection?
While it is true that men are more susceptible to toenail fungal infection, almost anybody can get it actually. However, people who have diabetes, poor blood circulation, are past 65 years of age, have a nail injury, an injury on the skin around the nail, and weak immune system are more likely to develop toenail fungal infection.
The type of treatment that a toenail fungal infection patient will get is dependent on the severity of the infection that he has. More often than not, an antifungal cream can be enough to treat a mild case of a toenail fungal infection. However, in severe cases, a doctor may prescribe the combined use of an antifungal cream and a prescription antifungal pill. Worst cases may require the surgical or non-surgical removal of the infected toenail.