A nail fungus infection occurs when a fungus attacks the skin underneath the nail, in the area called the nail bed. Typically there are three different fungi that cause an infection; these three fungi can work alone or in concert with each other.
· Dermatophytes are one of the most common types of fungi; it can grow on nails, skin and hair. The most well known strain of this type of fungi is Trichophyton rubrum, commonly referred to as ‘athlete’s foot.’
· Yeast is a fungus that is already present in the human body, if you experience too much yeast growth in your body a yeast infection can result and that could develop into a fungi nail infection.
· Mold, which is usually found in the soil, can also trigger a fungi nail but unlike an ‘athlete’s foot’ infection, you are unlikely to catch this fungus from another person.
A fungi nail infection begins when a fungus comes in contact with the nail bed; you are especially vulnerable to an infection if your toenail is ingrown or injured. Unfortunately feet are a perfect environment for fungal growth.
Fungi Nail Symptoms
Symptoms of fungi nail vary greatly both in appearance and intensity. The different types of fungal infections have varying symptoms, but common to all are discolored, misshapen and deteriorating toenails. These problems become worse if the toenail fungus infection is not treated. What starts out as a small whitish blemish can soon deteriorate into a painful and unsightly problem requiring immediate attention.
Fungi Nail Prevention
Fortunately, there are several preventative measures that you can take in order to protect yourself from a fungi nail infection.
· Cleanliness is the number one prevention method, keep your feet clean and dry as fungi thrive in a dark, moist environment.
· Take an extra pair of socks if you know you’re going to be active on a hot day. To keep your feet dry, change socks and sprinkle talcum powder on your feet when you feel moisture building up in your shoes.
· Shoe selection is also important, wear sandals whenever possible. If sandals are not appropriate, choose shoes made from natural materials that allow the feet to breathe and moisture to evaporate.
· Always wear appropriate footwear when using a public shower or pool area.
· Never share shoes, nail clippers, scissors, nail files or other hygiene utensils with other people, they may not know that they have a fungi nail infection and could pass their problem on to you.
· Finally, do your utmost to protect your feet from injury. An injury such as simply cutting a toenail too short could make you vulnerable to fungi nail.