Published September 15th, 2012 | By Louis
Toenail fungus is defined as an infection of the nail bed and of the plate that is found under the hard surface that most of us consider our toenail. These infections can also be found in finger nails, so precautions should be taken for all four locations of nails and nail beds. Not only is the condition more common in males, but it has a higher probability of occurring in individuals with diseases that cause a weakened immune system. Infections are visible to the naked eye, and will appear as a spot under the hard surface of the nail, usually either white or yellow in coloring. These infections are considered painful, so please take head of the preventionary tips provided below.
- The best tip is to keep your toenails clipped short, kept clean, and kept dry. Warm, dark, and damp places are breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful infections. Unfortunately, this is also the environment found within shoes throughout a significant portion of the day. When clipping the toenails, make sure that they are clipped straight across, trying to avoid rounding the corners. Rounding the corners can lead to ingrown toenails if the nail begins to grow incorrectly in relation the surrounded skin and callouses, which can, in turn, cause toenail fungus to grow. As with any part of your body, keep your feet properly cleaned to ensure that bacteria does not have an opportunity to grow and make its way into your nail beds. Personal hygiene is incredibly important in avoided the possibility of causing infections, and finger and toe nails are no exception. Also, when clipping the finger or toenails, avoid clipping too shot or this can cause irritation and bleeding under the nail, which then opens the nail bed to further infection.
- Never trim the skim around your nails, especially near your nail beds. This skin-like area is called the cuticle, and is necessary in preventing access to your nail beds for harmful bacteria. When the cuticle is trimmed or cut, entrance is granted and any type of infection is likely to make its way into your nail bed. The proper way to manicure your cuticles is to lightly push them back towards the nail bed, without cutting or ripping them.
- Make sure that you are wearing proper footwear in public places at all times. This includes, but is not limited to, public locker rooms, pools, and gas stations. Take special note of anywhere that you go where there is water on the ground, along with barefoot individuals splashing through the puddled moisture. Any bacterium that was now on their feet can easily and quickly spread to your feet if you set in that same puddle without appropriate footwear. Also, water is a great medium, in general, for the spread of bacteria. So, when in public, wear shoes at all times and avoid the urge to remove your shoes and splash in the puddles and most people would be tended to take part in.
- If you have an infection, to avoid making matters worse, do not wear nail polish of fake-nails of any kind. The sealant in the nail glue and nail polish can trap moisture under the nails and in the nail beds, and if an infection is already there, then such an environment will just further the growth of the fungus. While it may be extremely tempting to cover the white and yellow spots that a toenail infection can cause, refrain from doing so in an effort to reduce the later infection. Even if you do not have an infection in your nails, it is recommended that you take a few days off, between each time that you wear nail polish on either your finger or toenails, so that the nails and the nail beds have a chance to breathe.
- Finally, always wash your hands if you have been handling an infected nail. Because the bacteria in the fungus is so incredible contagious, you must make sure to either wear gloves or thoroughly wash any hands that the nail has come into contact with. Also, as it was previously mentioned, your finger nails can get nail fungus, as well, so hand washing is an absolute must when any other nails have fungus. Along with washing your hands, try to use paper towels when dealing with the infected area, so that you can simply throw it away after use. If you absolutely must use a re-usable towel, be sure to use bleach when it is being cleaned, and avoid cleaning it with any other items.