Published August 2nd, 2012 | By Louis
Toe nail infections are mostly more common to aged people; this is mostly more common to people over the age of 70. It is therefore, not a common thing in small children or teenagers. It mostly occurs in warm and moist environments especially the feet; the fungus can also be harbored in the patient’s shoes or socks. There are various symptoms of fungus infections on toes; they include yellowing of the nails, swelling, crumbling and thickening of the nails. Some people when the infection is severe suffer nail loss on the affected toes. Treating toenail fungal infections is considerably hard compared to treating fingernail fungal infections; the infection occurs in most cases on either the big or the small toe.
The main places that people pick toenail fungus infections are public places such as swimming pools, the gym or shower stalls that are accessible to the public. These infections are however very infectious and can easily be passed on from one family member to another or transmitted among people living together. Pressure on toes that is mostly caused by wearing tightly fitting shoes or working out too much such that trauma is caused on the toes is a main source of fungal infections; this is mostly common to athletes. These fungal infections once they infect one toe are likely to spread to other toes with time; worse still, these infections can spread to other parts of the body. This mostly happens when a person touches the infected part of the body and touches other body parts that are prone to the infections.
The risk factors that cause toenail fungus infections include not trying the feet well after washing the feet thereby, wearing shoes when feet are still dump increasing the chances of getting toenail fungal infection. Having an abnormal PH level of the skin also cause toenail fungal infections; this is also the case with a compromised immune system especially for people that have HIV/AIDS. People living with diabetes are also more prone to the fungal infections compared to people that have no diabetes or any other form of long term illness.
Treatment and prevention
Treating toenail fungus is a long process that may take a while to completely eradicate it; the process can also be considerably expensive in cases where the infection is deep rooted. It is therefore easier to prevent the infection as compared to treating it especially for the elderly people. Prevention of the infection is rather simple and only involves following the regular hygiene tips; it includes wearing sandals when using public shower, gym or pools. It is also advisable never to share foot wear especially shoes, towels, and socks because the fungus is easily transmittable from one person to another. Those prone to the infections are advised to wear cotton socks and should change them up to 3 times daily when necessary. Wearing open sandals is also a good idea to make the feet breathe and avoid getting them moist to harbor the fungus.
Washing the feet regularly and drying them thoroughly before wearing shoes or socks prevents them from getting the infection; patients should also avoid wearing dump shoes that are not dried well or are dirty. A person that has fungus should not wear nail polish because the polish seal in the fungus in makes it to grow all over the toe and make the infection more severe. It is also advisable to keep the toe nails short and clean to avoid harboring the bacteria; using thoroughly disinfected pedicure tools is also considerably essential to avoid further infection. Applying foot powder after washing and drying the feet well also helps to prevent the toenail fungus infections.
It is also advisable to seek medical advice as soon as one realizes that they are developing toenail fungus infection; doctors have tools that they use to dissolve or remove most of the toenail fungus. When the infection is serious and the doctor might not be able to remove most of the fungus; they may recommend oral antifungal medication to clear it. There is also medicated nail polish that is used to treat localized infections around the toes. Most of the medications prescribed have side effects therefore; it is advisable to come up with a treatment plan with the doctor that is not harmful to one’s health especially to the elderly people that have delicate health. In case where the infection is severe and spread over the toes; surgery is recommended because other forms of treatment might not work well for the severe infections. The medication should therefore, not be used for more than 6 months because of the various health implications like liver infections or cases of people with diabetes that the medication might have severe side effects on their health.