Tips for Keeping Toenail Fungus Out of Your Fun
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As strong an effort as 2020 has made to make us all miserable, it has not destroyed everything. There are still plenty of good times to be had, whether during summer months or any other season of the year.
It just pays to make safe decisions, and avoiding the spread of fungal toenails is something very much worth your attention.
We know that this year has been all about preventing the spread of something else that is very serious, but that doesn’t mean you should be reckless when it comes to other issues. Thankfully, there are easy steps you can take to help protect yourself against fungal nails, as well as limit the potential spread of stubborn fungus if you already harbor it.
Whatever your plans are now and into the future, we want you to be as safe and happy as possible. Keep the toenail fungus advice below in mind, and do not hesitate to reach out to us anytime you need help eradicating a fungal infection (or have any other foot or ankle problems that need care).
Identify the Problem Early
Just about everyone is aware of what fungal toenails look like when they’ve had a chance to really dig in and set up shop. Nails by this point tend to be:
- Discolored, somewhere in the range of white to yellow or brown in hue.
- Brittle and crumbly.
- Misshapen and ragged.
When your nails reach this point, it is a tough battle to get rid of the fungus. Unfortunately, many patients don’t come in until the problem gets this bad, and treatment can be much more efficient when the fungus is in its earlier stages of development.
Perhaps one of the most important tips, then, is to be aware of the early stages of a fungal toenail infection. This can look like white or discolored streaks or spots in the nail, and it’s easy to assume that they’re from some minor bump or scrape. The key difference, however, is that these blemishes don’t go away.
Fungal toenails grow worse rather slowly over time, but many people delay coming in for treatment until the infection gets really bad. Give us a call when you start seeing red flags the first time – we guarantee it will be a better overall experience in the long run, even if the problem does not turn out to be fungal nails.
Protect Your Feet Against Higher Risks
Nail fungus loves conditions that are dark, damp, and warm.
This is when you would normally see warnings about wearing foot protection around locker rooms and public pools. These types of places are not as available or frequented as they normally would be during this time of COVID-19, but you should definitely consider wearing shower shoes the next time you are in any of those places.
If you have your own private pool, your risks of fungal infection are going to be a lot lower. Unless, of course, someone in your pool circle has fungal nails. If they do, they should definitely be wearing water shoes – and it would not hurt for everyone else to do so as well.
But there are other high-risk places besides pools and gyms, including within the home. In general – and especially if someone in your household has a fungal nail infection – you should:
- Dry your footwear. Shoe interiors provide very favorable conditions for harboring fungus. Shoes that are damp from a day of wear should get at least 24 hours of non-use to dry out. Using boot dryers can also be effective.
- Treat your footwear. Anyone who has or recently had a fungal infection should be treating their shoes with antifungal powder. Be careful not to put too much in, though. Feet that slide around in excess powder all day are more prone to friction-based problems such as blisters.
- Do not share. You should never share footwear as a general rule, and that goes double if someone has fungal nails. Additionally, anyone with fungal nails should never share their toenail clippers, and those clippers should never be used between your toenails and fingernails. The fungus can pass to your fingernails this way. Clean your clippers regularly with rubbing alcohol and fully dry them to prevent rusting.
Get Fungal Nails Treated Now
Regardless of at what stage a fungal nail infection may be in, getting a professional diagnosis and treatment is always highly recommended.
A fungal infection is never something that will go away on its own. We can fully examine the extent of the damage and recommend the best route for taking care of your fungus for good, which can include our effective Lunala laser treatment.
Even if your summer plans may be dashed, that just makes it all the more convenient a time to start treatment for fungal nails. It can take months for full results to be achieved and fresh new nail to replace that which was damaged by the fungus. Odds are good we can get your nails back to top shape by next summer.
Remember that the earlier you come in to address your fungal nail problem, the better! We are more than happy to meet with you in-office (following strict guidelines to reduce COVID exposure risks for patients and staff) and can also conduct initial consultations via a telemedicine appointment.
Call our Princeton office at (609) 924-8333 or our Roselle Park office at (908) 687-5757 to schedule an in-office or telemedicine appointment. If you aren’t sure which might be best for you at this time, please don’t hesitate to ask our staff.