Although generally not facing health matters, your kids feet are exposed in certain dangers, some of which make kids flip flops a real necessity, especially during the hot months of summer -and not only. Toenail fungus is mainly common to older people, but kids might also face such a problem because of several reasons.
The main symptoms of toenail fungus include swelling, yellowing, thickening or crumbling of the nail, streaks or spots down the side of the nail, and in some cases complete loss of the nail.
During Autumn people all over the world (at least all over the northern hemisphere) take their tight fitting closed shoes or sportswear out of the cabinets. Flip flops are set aside and warmer footwear is preferred instead.
But is this a wise decision? Is there sufficient data suggesting that during the autumn and winter months dangers deriving from fungi that can affect toes health are less than the rest of the year? Furthermore, are there any dangers deriving from tight fitting sport shoes for the toe or the toenail health, either during the colder or during the warmer months of the year (in both hemispheres)? Last, are there any places where toenail fungi or toe infections are more common and where we should take any kind of precautions? Is it true that toenail health issues are rare in children and should we rely on this and avoid taking further precautions?
Although it is true that toenail fungi are more common in adults, it is also true that they can affect a kids toenail health, as well as that they can be easily passed among family members. But let’s get the story from the beginning.
First, let’s talk about the causes of toenail fungi…
Humid areas, as public gyms, showers or swimming pools are ideal environments for toenail infections. Tight-fitting closed sport or other shoes, that prevent the feet from drying off can help the fungi evolve and spread from one toe to another. Not drying off the feet thoroughly (especially the part between the toes), after a shower or some intense activity that makes them sweat, increases the danger of a serious infection.
Second, which are the symptoms of toenail fungi?
The symptoms can be readily observed and may vary from little flaws, yellow, dark blue or brown spots to swelling or thickening of the nail.
Treatment or Prevention? That is always the question…
First, let’s get things clear on medical treatment. The first thing one should do after seeing some sign of a fungus on his/her child’s toenails, would be to visit a foot doctor, who is the only one he/she should trust for applying the right treatment. DO NOT ask your pedicurist, or other friends having similar experiences. DO NOT even search Google or medical forums for information. Beware of the fact that a toenail fungus can evolve to a serious problem for your child’s toenail health and remember that just like all health problems the sooner you cope with a fungus, the better the results. Another thing you should keep in mind is that pedicurists -no matter how good and proficient they are- are not doctors and should not act like doctors. A pedicurist willing to act some treatment on the infected nail, probably doesn’t know that his/her tools will probably be infected and this way the fungus might move from one client to another.
Toenail fungi vary a lot and different treatments, such as medical nail polishes, special drops or even oral medication and partial or total surgical removal of the nail might be applied. I know that all this sounds dangerous and painful but it is not. Just be sure to advise your doctor, and you and your child will have nothing to worry about.
But again, I always believe that it would be much wiser to try to prevent or at least reduce the possibilities of an infection, and, the easiest way to achieve this is by educating your children on ways of prevention. Knowing that toes, toenails and the parts between toes should be dried off thoroughly and that not all places fit all footwear are two important rules that will protect your kids toes health. Actually, this is why kids flip flops can become an ideal out-door footwear during the warm months of the year and in-door during the whole year. In our warm winter in-door surroundings “closed” slippers or other footwear will increase the dangers of developing several kinds of toe or toenail infection and that’s why podiatrists all over the world (but largely in warmer countries) suggest footwear that resembles barefoot in your in-door walks.
During the summer most people prefer “open” shoes, resulting to the reduce of health problems connected to their toes. However, if you or your child face any of the symptoms described above, do not lose any time and go get some professional advice.