Nail fungus infection affects millions worldwide, making it one of the easiest form of infection to contract. Because of this, there are also tons of guides, remedies and treatments being recommended online for the treatment of nail fungus infection. Finding the right treatment is important but the first step you should take in treating this infection is to discover how you contracted it in the first place. Knowing how you got infected will enable you to avoid the likelihood of getting infected again and help speed up the healing process.
Nail fungus are micro-organisms associated with a class called Dermatophytes. These are organizations that thrive in warm, dark and moist environment and do not need sunlight for their survival. Dermatophytes feed off organic matter as a food source. The main source of food for nail fungus is the keratin in your nails. As they consume the keratin, they will cause your nails to become brittle, discolored, thicken, distorted and in the long term even break off. Not treating the infection in time will cause your nail to not only feel extremely painfully but will also emit a foul, unpleasant odor.
Nail fungus needs to penetrate the epidermal layer of your skin in order to cause the infection. They do this either through little cuts and nicks around the nail or even from the exposed space between the nail and nail bed. Once penetrated, it will take a while before you've realized that you have been infected, usually the first sign of nail fungus infection is a yellowish spot or blemish on the nails. Treatment needs to be done immediately and if arrested at this first stage it is very easy to treat but left untreated, it will be more difficult.
The most common way that one gets infected by nail fungus is by walking barefoot, especially at public areas that have wet surfaces. These include swimming pools, locker rooms, bath houses, indoor spas and public showers. It is common for people to walk around barefoot in these places and if one of these people have nail fungus infection, it is easily spread to the next person. Get into the habit of carrying along a pair of flip flops when visiting places like these.
Another common method of infection is from gardening, especially when one handles soil, dirt or compost without using proper gloves. Dermatophytes exist naturally in soil and can easily get into the skin under the nail bed. Use a good pair of rubber gloves, always wash and turn the gloves in side out after use to and thoroughly wash your hands.
Infection can also occur by sharing manicure and pedicure tools. This commonly happens at nail saloons that do not practice good hygiene. The best way to counter this is by visiting only reputable saloons and even better, bringing along your own set of tools. Never share your nail tools with anyone, no matter how well you know them as you can never be sure whether they have been infected or not.
The inside of shoes and gloves create the ideal living conditions for nail fungus to grow and spread. If you need to wear shoes for long periods of time, ensure that your feet are always dry. Wear synthetic socks that allows some aeration and does not cause your feet to sweat. Avoid using wool or cotton. And make sure you change to a new pair of socks everyday. Every chance you get, take off your shoes to allow you feet to breathe. If possible, get into the habit of using open front shoes or sandals instead.
Finally, touching an infected nail may cause it to spread to your other nails. If you need to treat a nail, it is a good idea to wear a pair of gloves and to wash your hands thoroughly after that. If a toenail is infected, it can spread easily to the other toenails as well, especially if you wear shoes for long periods of time. Using foot fungus power or an anti-fungal spray will help keep it from spreading.
However, sometimes even with you best effort, infection can still happen. If it does and you have contracted nail fungus infection, you will need to seek treatment immediately. The longer you wait the worst it becomes. Once a nail becomes distorted or falls off, there's no turning back and the scarring is permanent.