When it comes to nail fungus, the only thing better than treating it safely and effectively, is not having to treat it at all! Here are the top 5 ways to keep your nails clean and fungus free!
1) Trim Your Nails (The Right Way)
Your toenails are your #1 protector against nail fungus -- and when maintained correctly, are darn good at it. Nails are tightly compact layers of protein called keratin, which is extremely strong and effective at repelling potentially harmful microbes from entering into more vulnerable parts of the body, like the nail bed. When the nail bed is exposed due to damage or poor grooming, it increases the likelihood that fungus can invade.
2) Be Careful in High Risk Places
Dermatophytes are the most common fungi that cause fungal nail infections, and they love to hang out in dark, moist places where they can grow undisturbed. Avoiding contact with these places is important in preventing nail fungus. Some examples are:
- Public shower
- Locker room floor
- Bathtubs (that aren't yours)
- Shoes & socks
- Athletic gear like skates & cleats
Chances are you can't completely avoid these places, especially if you frequent a gym or participate in athletics, but you can decrease your chances of infection by taking some precautions. When using a public shower or in a public locker room, always wear sandals and avoid direct contact with the ground. Also remember clean and disinfect shoes, socks, and athletic gear on a regular basis
3) Don't Share Grooming Tools
Next time you break a nail or need to quickly remove a hangnail, resist the urge to borrow a friend or family member's clippers or nail file. Fungus can easily be transmitted between people who share groom utensils, so make sure you have your own at the ready and cut down on the risk of infection.
4) Be Conscious of Hygiene
It can be easy, in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for work in the morning, to hop in the shower and hop out without every giving your feet a good scrub. Remember to wash your feet and toes thoroughly on a regular basis to prevent fungus and bacteria from getting a foothold (no pun intended!). Dermatophytes are also the most common cause of athlete's foot, and what starts out as a minor case of athlete's foot can easily spread into the nail bed resulting in a full on case of nail fungus. Keep your feet clean and keep that fungus from ever getting started!
5) Let Your Feet Breathe!
It might sound silly, but a lot of people work jobs that keep them on their feet and in a pair of shoes or boots for the better part of the day, which can increase the chances of a fungal nail infection. As mentioned, fungi love to live in dark, warm, moist places -- like shoes -- and keeping your feet in that environment just increases the chances of an infection getting started. Remember to take your shoes off and let your feet breathe during a long day and decrease the likelihood of a fungal nail infection.
Keep these 5 tips in mind and stay fungus free!