Although there are many different ways to handle toe nail fungus once you’ve acquired it, the best option is to simply prevent it from infecting your feet in the first place.
You don’t have to live in fear, mind you; prevention requires only a few important steps. Follow them, and you’ll be likely fungus-free forever.
- Keep your nails dry. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t wash your hands and feet or shower regularly (in fact, you should do those things); but instead, think about what happens to anything if you leave it moist for too long: it begins to smell old and moldy. So, after wetting your nails for any reason make sure to dry them out by blotting them with a towel.
- Go all natural. Nail polish sparkles and shimmers for certain, but ask yourself whether that shine is worth an infection. Nail polish can inadvertently trap a fungus or excess moisture near your nail bed, making it difficult (if not impossible) for your body to fight off the infection. If you do need to use the polish, follow the previous step first.
- Wear shoes. This may seem silly (who’s going to leave the house without proper footwear, after all) but many people slip off their shoes in public settings, such as at the gym or near the local pool. Unfortunately, while this does give your toes a chance to cool off, it also gives other people’s fungus a chance to hitchhike home with you. Keep your shoes on if you are truly concerned. A piece of advice: wear flip-flops if your feet need to breathe.
- Keep your nails short. Long nails (especially on your toes) don’t just look bad: they provide shelter for bacteria and germs. The easiest way to let them know there are no vacancies on your feet is to pull out a pair of clippers and trim your nails down. Don’t go too far though, because getting overzealous and breaking the skin is another way of acquiring a fungus.
- Make friends with an Anti-Fungal Spray. This step is especially important if you know you’re at risk for a fungal infection (for example, if your spouse or roommate is fighting a fungus). Spray both your feet (to kill the fungus where it might be trying to spread) and inside of your shoes.
- Don’t share. In elementary school, you may have been taught that sharing is caring, but in the real world it is also an open invitation towards a host of health issues – including nail fungus.
Because the fungus is so contagious, you should reserve certain hygiene items, such as nail clippers and hand brushes, for your use only.
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