A disfiguring condition, sometimes painful. But, actually, it is quite possible to live with it. That is how most people think. Fungi are the instigators of these so-called ‘fungal nails.’ Fortunately, fungal nails are easy to treat these days.
How Do You Recognize A Fungal Nail?
In the case of fungal nails, the nail plate shows discoloration, such as white to yellow / brownish stripes. The length of growth of the nail is inhibited and the result is that the thickness of the nail increases.
How Often Does It Occur?
In the Netherlands, an estimated 26% of the population suffer from a fungal infection on the nails. Men and women are at about the same risk of getting fungal nails. The chance increases as you get older. Also at risk groups – for example, diabetics – often suffer from fungal nails. The consequences are a burden when walking, pain and an unnecessary feeling of shame.
How Do Fungal Nails Develop?
Someone with healthy skin and healthy nails usually have a good defense against fungi. Fungi have a good time in badly growing, damp or damaged nails. Under these conditions, fungi can spread easily. The spores of fungi are everywhere in our environment and we can easily contact them.
Especially in common areas such as showers, swimming pools, sports halls and saunas. When you walk around there barefoot, you almost inevitably come into contact with fungal spores. If you then insufficiently dry your feet and perspire excessively, the germ is placed for a fungal infection. You yourself are a source of new infections. Someone with fungal infection can spread millions of spores that remain contagious for a long time.
How Can You Prevent Fungal Nails?
It is a misunderstanding to think that fungal infections are caused by poor hygiene. What can you do yourself to keep the chance of contamination as small as possible:
Wash your feet daily, preferably without soap.
Dry your feet well, especially between the toes.
Wear socks of absorbent, natural material such as wool or cotton.
Avoid wearing synthetic stockings or tights as much as possible.
Put on clean socks every day.
Wear open shoes as much as possible.
Choose preferably for genuine leather shoes.
Change after fitting new shoes from socks.
Change shoes regularly, do not wear shoes for too long.
Disinfect shoes and socks with a fungicide.
Always wear slippers in public areas such as changing rooms, showers or saunas.
A fungal nail never heals automatically. When the nail is infected by fungus, this infection can slowly spread. Until recently, the treatment of a fungal nail was very difficult. The treatment often took six to twelve months. Nowadays the general practitioner or dermatologist can prescribe medicines that can fight a stubborn fungal infection faster and more thoroughly. This increases the chance of a successful treatment.
In addition to the prescribed substances, all shoes on the inside must be treated with a fungicide. As a precaution to prevent fungal spores from entering the shoes and thus causing reinfection.
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