Toenail fungus is a common complaint, affecting people of all ages and occupations. It is one of the main causes of nail discoloration, leading to nail loss, if left untreated. However, as with many other conditions, it is always for the best to prevent the toenail fungal infection, rather than trying to treat it. The good news is that this condition can be easily prevented, especially if you will follow the suggestions included in the paragraphs below. Always remember that the fungal infection has a tendency to spread quite fast, so it is for the best to nip it in the bud.
#1 Watch out for those pedicures
A pedicure might help your toes look fantastic but you have to pay close attention to the actual process. Choose a reputable nail salon and inquire about the measures they take, in order to prevent such kind of infections (and their subsequent spreading). Ask for a new set of instruments to be opened in front of your eyes and request a plastic protector for the pedicure tub. As always, it is for the best to bring your own nail polish; if a bottle hasn’t been used in a long time, it is highly likely it will also harbor harmful microorganisms.
#2 Stop cutting your cuticles
If you are handling your own pedicure, you need to stop cutting your cuticles. They are present for a reason and that is to provide protection against fungal and bacterial microorganisms. Without cuticles, such as microorganisms have direct access to the nail bed, making you susceptible to infections. Instead, it is recommended to soak your toes in warm water, pushing the cuticles. When done, apply cuticle oil, for nourishment.
#3 Take notice of your toenails
While the fungal infection does not appear overnight, there are certain warning signs you should take into consideration. For example, it is common for the affected toenail to present yellow or white spots; at the beginning, these are present on the tip of the nail. If the infection is not addressed, the nail bed will become affected as well. The toenails will present streaks of different colors, they will thicken and even crumble. So, the moment you will notice any changes, you should visit the dermatologist.
#4 Avoid stubbing your toes
We have all stubbed our toes, at least once in our lives. However, every time you stub your toe(s), you stand a very good chance of damaging the nails. Any cuts present at the level of the toenails represent excellent entry points for the fungal microorganisms. Pay attention to such matters and protect your feet from trauma, in order to keep fungal infections at a safe distance.
#5 Dry feet are healthy feet
There is nothing that fungus loves more than a moist and dark environment. In fact, fungal infections almost always start in-between the toes, given the favorable conditions they find there. Make sure that your feet are dry at all times, using a clean towel to dry the toes after taking a bath or a shower. Avoid wearing socks or pantyhose for prolonged periods of time, as this can create favorable conditions for the fungus. Use antifungal foot powder, change your socks on a regular basis and pay attention to the footwear, as this can be a source of excess humidity as well.
#6 Antifungal solution added to the machine wash
If you want to prevent fungal infections, the first thing that you want to do is wash your socks at a high temperature (this will prevent the fungus from surviving). Moreover, there are special antifungal solutions, which you can purchase from any drugstore and add to the machine wash. In general, it is recommended to add this solution to the final rinse cycle. You can also soak your socks in this solution, before washing them by hand, whichever way you prefer.
#7 Foot soaks
Once you have noticed changes in your toenails, it is high time to attack the fungus. You can prepare an acid solution, by mixing vinegar with water, soaking your feet in the respective mixture (fungus cannot thrive in an acidic environment). As an alternative, you can prepare a saline solution, by mixing warm water with sea salt. Soak your feet in the respective mixture for five to ten minutes, then rinse and pat them dry, using a clean towel. The fungus does not like the saline solution either.
#8 Watch out for the kind of socks that you wear
If you want to keep the fungal infection at a safe distance, you need to pay attention to the socks you are wearing. Leaving aside the obvious need that they should be clean, make sure that you are wearing socks made from absorbent fabrics. The most recommended materials include nylon, wool and polypropylene.
#9 Throw out old or worn out shoes
Old, worn out shoes represent one of the most common causes for which a fungal infection develops and thrives. Even if you take all preventative measures mentioned above, you might still suffer from such an infection, as long as you continue to wear the same old shoes. Throw them out and purchase new ones, alternating your footwear on a regular basis. You can also use antifungal foot powder or wear open-toe shoes more often, in order to keep the risk of fungal infections down to a minimum.
#10 Do not share objects of personal hygiene with other people
This might sound like the obvious thing to do but, nevertheless, it has to be mentioned. Avoid sharing towels, nail clippers or other objects of personal hygiene with other people, no matter how clean they might seem to be. After all, they might already present a fungal infection and not be aware of it. Use your own objects and do not give them to someone else as well.
As you can see for yourself, it is not difficult to prevent the appearance of fungal infections. These are common sense measures, which anyone can follow and they will allow you to have healthy toenails.