Nail Fungal Infections: A Guide to Prevention and Treatment

How Nail Fungal Infections Occur

Nail fungus (onychomycosis) is a common problem,Nail Fungal Infections: A Guide to Prevention and Treatment Articles affecting an estimated 40 million Americans. Most susceptible are men, individuals over forty, athletes, women who use acrylic nails, and those with a family history of infections or conditions which affect circulation, such as diabetes. Some individuals may also have inherited tendencies which make them more susceptible to developing nail fungus. The culprits are called dermatophytes, and they’re found virtually everywhere in the environment. These are the same organisms that cause athlete’s foot – a common skin infection of the feet.

Symptoms of a fungal nail infection typically begin with nail discoloration. Fungal dermatophytes convert healthy nail into keratin debris, upon which they live and feed. As keratin debris collects beneath the nail(s), they become thickened and may cause mild to severe discomfort, depending on the degree of infection. In advanced cases, nails become crumbly and may lift completely off the nail bed. As nail fungus advances it can become a social as well as a cosmetic problem. People with nail fungus will often shy away from pool or beach activities to avoid the embarrassment of ugly nails. For women in particular, fingernail fungus creates an even more serious social embarrassment. Hiding the problem behind false nails can make matters worse, as moisture becomes trapped between the acrylic surface, cement and the normal nail.

Changes You Can Make in Your Daily Routine to Help Prevent A Nail Fungus Infection:

·Avoid going barefoot in public places, especially health clubs, swimming pools and spas

·Dry toenails thoroughly after bathing or showering: Fungus thrives on moisture and warmth

·Don’t wear shoes that fit too tightly and don’t wear the same shoes every day; Throw away old shoes that may harbor fungus