Fungal infections are contagious, and easily transferred from person to person. However, taking the following precautions can reduce your risk.
1.Wear thongs or sandals when walking in warm, moist areas like gyms, locker rooms, spa areas, public showers, and pools. This can prevent you from catching nail fungus and athlete’s foot (tinea).
2. If you just finished treating nail fungus, throw away shoes, boots, skates, and other footwear that you wore before you started treatment. Fungus can live in footwear, giving you another infection. If your footwear is expensive or new, you can disinfect them using an anti-fungal powder.
3. Put on a clean pair of socks every day and whenever your socks get sweaty. This helps prevent fungi from growing. Wearing moisture-wicking socks can also reduce the need to change your socks.
4. Wear shoes that fit well (not too tight), are made of leather, canvas, or mesh, keep your feet dry and prevent overheating. This helps prevent fungi from growing in your shoes.
5. Alternate shoes. Fungi thrive in moist places like damp shoes. You can reduce this growth by giving shoes 24 hours to dry out before wearing them again.
6. Sprinkle anti-fungal powder in your shoes. These products cannot treat a fungal nail infection, but they can help prevent fungus from growing in your shoes.
7. Keep your nails short. When trimming your toenails, you want to cut them straight across and keep your toenails shorter than the end of your toes. This helps prevent fungi and other germs from getting under your nails.
8. Sanitize your nail clipper before using it. To sanitize your nail clipper, wash it with soap and water and then wipe it with rubbing alcohol.
9. If you go to a salon for nail care, ask how often they disinfect nail clippers, emery boards, and other equipment. They should sanitize these after every client. If not, the equipment can spread a fungal infection from one client to another. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their Health Clearance Certificate.
10. Never share nail clippers, shoes, skates, towels, and other personal items. You can easily pick up a fungal infection by sharing a personal item. People also get athlete’s foot (a fungal infection on the skin) by sharing personal items.
11. Keep your feet clean and dry. Carefully wash your feet with soap and water every day, taking care to wash between your toes. Dry your feet well after washing them. You also want to avoid having damp or sweaty feet for too long. A damp, warm area provides the perfect area for fungi to thrive.
12. Moisturize dry skin. Fungi can get in through small cracks in your skin. To ease dry skin, moisturize within 5 minutes of bathing and after washing your hands.
13. If you get athlete’s foot, treat it right away. Fungi also cause athlete’s foot. This fungal infection can spread to your nails.
14. Check your nails to find early signs of infection
Following these precautions will reduce your risk of getting another infection. Fungal infection, however, are very common. Early treatment delivers the best outcome.
You can find signs of an early fungal infection by checking your nails and the skin around them at least once a month. You want to look for:
- Changes in nail color, such as a white spot or brown or yellow streak
- Changes to the texture of your nails
- Soreness or swelling around a nail
- Dry, itchy skin
If you notice any signs of infection, make an appointment to see your Podiatrist.