While the primary form of fungi responsible for this affliction is present year-round, the chances of getting a nail fungal infection increase drastically during this rainy time of year. Fungi thrive in warm, moist, and dark environments, which means that getting caught in the rain has just made those soaked shoes and socks of yours their perfect breeding ground. Here are several tips to minimise your chances of contracting this nasty infection.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Nail Fungus?
- Nail becomes thick and brittle
- Whitish to Yellow or Brown discolouration
- Nail shape distortion
- Foul odour
1. Keep your feet clean and dry
Adopt a daily habit of washing your feet with soap and drying them well afterwards, especially after getting caught in the rain. Take care to change out of wet footwear and get between your toes when drying them.
2. Avoid going barefoot in public
Since fungi thrive in moist and warm areas, it can spread easily in places like public swimming pools and showers where the skin barrier is moist and at its lowest defence. Wear flip flops or water shoes for an added layer of protection.
3. Disinfect and discard
Using an anti-fungal spray can prevent fungus from growing in old shoes. You should also avoid sharing shoes with others. Throw out shoes that you have outgrown, as tightfitting shoes can cause repetitive trauma to your nails. This can weaken them and make them more susceptible to fungi growths.
4. Change your socks daily
Put on a new pair of socks every day. You might even want to consider wearing sweat-absorbant socks or more breathable shoes if you are prone to sweaty feet.
5. Make sure your shoes and socks are dry
Wet and moist areas are prime places for bacteria and fungus to propagate. Take care so your feet do not soak in this environment for a long period of time.
What to Do if You Suspect You Have Toenail Fungus
Be sure to monitor your toenails regularly for any changes in nail texture and/or colour. In most mild cases, an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream can be used together with a daily cleansing routine.
However, if this does not work or if the problem seems to be getting worse, contact a podiatrist for a full assessment and clinical treatment. An early diagnosis can make it easier to get rid of the fungus, significantly reduce recovery time, and prevent other parts of the body or other people from becoming infected.
As nail fungus infections are resilient and can reoccur even after the application of multiple home remedies, we recommend prevention as the first line of defence to keep fungal infections at bay and seeking professional help when required. This is particularly urgent for those with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions such as diabetes.