If toenails suddenly change color, thicken, and become brittle, nail fungus is most likely present. This fungal disease not only looks unattractive, but often also causes itching or even pain in the affected areas. If a nail fungus breaks out, quick action is required. If left untreated, the fungus may spread and be responsible for the loss of the diseased nails. So that it doesn't even get that far, you should pay attention to thorough prevention.
Nail fungus is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails caused by fungi or filamentous fungi.
The prevention of nail fungus in the area of the toenails starts with the selection of the right shoes. Not only should they fit well and be neither too tight nor too wide, but also be made of a high quality material. Artificial materials are often not very breathable and favor a warm, humid climate inside.
This creates the ideal breeding ground for fungal spores. It is advisable to choose shoes made of leather, breathable fabrics or microfibers that allow air to circulate at all times. If your own feet sweat a lot, it is important to use several pairs of shoes. This allows the damp shoe to dry out before putting it back on. The German Shoe Institute offers more information on what to look out for when buying shoes. The feet should also be exposed to the fresh air barefoot from time to time. This will also dry the spaces between the toes.
The stockings should also be chosen carefully when preventing nail fungus. Stockings should never be worn on several consecutive days, as possible spores can multiply and infect the toenail. Cotton socks absorb moisture from the feet and wick it away. Art materials, on the other hand, favor a damp environment, which is why they should be left on the shelf.
Nail fungus is common in old people who can no longer manage their daily hygiene on their own. However, it is particularly important to wash your feet and hands regularly and, above all, thoroughly. The nails and their sensitive cuticles should also be cleaned with a mild washing gel.
This gently removes germs and spores that sit in the skin folds on the edge of the nails. It is also worth using a nourishing nail oil, because it gives the nail strength and makes it more resistant to external influences. A washcloth that is used for the feet should really only be used here. In particular, if symptoms of nail fungus such as inflammation or white stripes on the nail are already apparent, this will prevent the spores from spreading.
High temperatures cause the fungal spores that cause nail fungus to die off. It is therefore not enough to wash stockings, towels and washcloths at low temperatures. To prevent fungal infections, these everyday objects should be washed at a temperature of at least 60 degrees. Resistant materials can withstand hot laundry without any problems. In the best case scenario, household textiles are washed not only with the things already mentioned, but also with bed linen and bathroom rugs. Regular washing at high temperatures prevents the spores from spreading.
The washing machine itself can also encourage the growth of bothersome fungal spores. If it is only operated at a low temperature, the germs in the remaining water do not die and can possibly be transferred to items of clothing from wash to wash. It is therefore recommended to let the washing machine run at high temperatures occasionally. Detergents with bleach or special machine cleaners also eliminate the last spores and germs.
A nail fungus can be complicated for people with an underlying disease. For example, diabetes mellitus has a beneficial effect on diseases of the feet, which is why professional treatment of the disease also prevents nail fungus.
In general, there is a connection between an immune deficiency and nail fungus. If the defense against illness is weakened by stress, illness or psychological problems, fungal spores have an easy job. Especially when the nail fungus has settled, there is a high risk of spreading if the immune system is weak.
The nail fungus then progresses faster and should be treated quickly. Occasionally it is necessary to take medication for this, because secondary diseases such as sore throat are made all the more likely by an existing nail fungus.
A nail fungus has a hard time if the points already mentioned are complied with. Anyone who thoroughly deals with hygiene in the home and bathroom already has a good chance of permanently living without the annoying fungus.
However, additional caution is required in special everyday situations. A visit to the sauna or the swimming pool is such a situation. Since many people move barefoot in these areas and possibly have an undiscovered or neglected nail fungus, there is an increased risk of infection.
To prevent nail fungus, you should always wear good bathing shoes that separate your feet from the bare ground. Disinfecting the feet before leaving the bath or sauna also helps. In many facilities there are therefore taps with disinfectants, which should be used whenever possible.
If a family member is affected by nail fungus, special care should be taken. Treating the outbreak of infection quickly is an important decision for the patient, but does not initially reduce the risk of infection for family members.
In such a situation, it is important to wash the towels, bed linen, stockings and shoes of the respective person separately and in accordance with the stated guidelines. Sharing a towel can significantly encourage the fungal disease to pass on to a family member. Children should not play with their hands on the bathroom floor in this case. Disinfecting the affected rooms with a suitable spray significantly reduces the risk of infection.
Nail fungus is not a disease that sets in and worsens immediately upon initial contact with the fungal spores. However, neglecting good prevention makes it all the more likely that the surrounding spores will multiply and infect the nail.