Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a very common infection. It affects both the hands and the feet.
This infection involves a series of changes in nail appearance including the appearance of cracks, a yellow color, and an uncomfortable itchy feeling.
It usually is a result of your body’s lowered immune response. However, it also can be produced by:
- Excess sweating
- Some types of shoes
- Exposure to contaminated surfaces
Even though its presence doesn’t mean there is a serious health problem, it must be treated. This is not just for aesthetic reasons, but because it can cause pain and other complications.
In addition, it’s good to know some important facts about the condition in order to take preventative measures.
Stay tuned to learn 7 things you need to know about toenail fungus.
1. It is a very common problem.
Toenail fungus is mainly caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes which usually thrive in warm, moist environments.
Many people are embarrassed that they have it, but it’s actually a very common infection. Believe it or not, more than half of the population has had it at least once in their life.
Your susceptibility of getting infected increases with age. Because it’s hard to detect at first, many people have it without even knowing.
2. Toenail fungus is contagious.
Though not a highly contagious infection, it is very important to keep in mind that toenail fungus can be transmitted in certain situations.
There is no high risk by just being near someone with the fungus. However, there is a high probability of developing it by sharing socks, shoes, and nail clippers.
In addition, microorganisms can remain on shower surfaces and bathroom floors. That’s why you should be careful to wear shower shoes, especially in public showers.
3. Know the healthy habits to prevent it.
It has been proven that certain healthy habits can help lower the risk of developing a fungus.
Besides not sharing personal hygiene items, it’s smart to keep nails clean, dry, and short.
After getting out of the shower and before putting on socks or shoes, you should dry your feet with an absorbent towel.
Likewise, socks should be made of breathable fabrics that help avoid moisture retention.
At the same time, it’s essential to have a balanced diet rich in nutrients that strengthen your immune system.
4. Not all treatments are effective.
Believe it or not, natural remedies can be quite useful to reduce and control infections caused by these microorganisms.
However, they are not effective in all cases, since fungus sometimes manages to survive the treatments and keep spreading.
If that is the case, it’s best to see a doctor to get both topical and oral pharmacological treatments.
These kinds of options tend to give better results, though it can be months before they take effect.
5. An excess of moisture increases your risk.
Washing your hands or feet too much or keeping your nails in contact with water for too long is another factor that increases the risk of contracting this type of infection.
This is because an excess of moisture damages the nail’s protective layer and weakens cuticles, opening its way for the growth of microorganisms.
6. Its appearance is related to athlete’s foot.
The majority of patients with toenail fungus also suffer from or have suffered from the condition known as “athlete’s foot.”
This is another fungal infection that is characterized by a collection of skin problems on the feet.
It’s quite common among athletes and swimmers since both are exposed to environments that facilitate the growth of fungus.
Check out this article: Two Ingredients Kill Nail Fungus
7. Nail fungus may be warning you of other conditions.
The sudden appearance of nail fungus can be a sign of chronic health problems like circulatory difficulties, diabetes, or a vulnerable immune system.
There even is a higher risk of contracting it if you have had other skin issues like psoriasis or dermatitis.
Keep this in mind if you have recurring problems with nail fungus.
Now that you know more about this type of fungus, try to examine your nails regularly and improve nail care to prevent infection.