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Nail fungal infection (onychomycosis)
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Nail fungal infection (onychomycosis)

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Fungal

WOMEN'S HEALTH

Hair/Nails/Skin

A fungal infection of the nail (onychomycosis) occurs when fungi infect oneor more of your nails. Onychomycosis usually begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection spreads deeper into your nail, it may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and develop crumbling edges - an unsightly and potentially painful problem.

Prevention

To help prevent nail fungal infections and reduce their recurrence, practice good hand and foot hygiene by following these steps:

  • Keep your nails short, dry and clean. Trim nails straight across and file down thickened areas. Thoroughly dry your hands and feet, including between your toes, after bathing.

  • Wear absorbent cotton socks. Change them often, if your feet sweat excessively. Take your shoes off occasionally during the day and after exercise. Alternate closed-toe shoes with open-toed shoes.

  • Use an antifungal spray or powder. Spray or sprinkle your feet and the insides of your shoes.

  • Wear rubber gloves. This protects your hands from overexposure to water. Between uses, turn rubber gloves inside out to dry.

  •  Don't trim or pick at the skin around your nails. This may give germs a way into your skin and nails.

  • Don't go barefoot in public places. Wear shoes around public pools, showers and locker rooms.

  •  Choose a reputable manicure and pedicure salon. Make sure the salon sterilizes its instruments. Better yet, bring your own.

  • Give up nail polish and artificial nails. Although it may be tempting to hide nail fungal infections under a coat of pretty pink polish, this can trap unwanted moisture and worsen the infection.

  • Wash your hands after touching an infected nail. Nail fungal infections can spread from nail to nail.

Nail fungal infection > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 12:45 AM