Living with a fungal nail infection

Nail fungus is unhealthy and unsightly.
Nail fungus is unhealthy and unsightly.

Fungal infections – common in toenails and fingernails – have typical symptoms including discoloration, a thick and brittle appearance, crumbly edges and a curled up or down shape.

Since fungus thrives in moist places, sweaty socks and shoes provide a great environment for fungus. Such infections are more common after age 60, and among those with weakened immune systems.

If you have a fungal infection of the nail, the American Academy of Physicians suggests:

  • Cut nails short and file down thick areas.
  • Don't use the same nail trimmer or file on healthy nails and infected ones.
  • If you go to a nail salon, bring your own nail file and trimmer.
  • Wear waterproof gloves when washing dishes or floors.
  • Wear socks of wicking material to draw moisture from the skin.
  • Change your socks when they are damp from sweat or your feet get wet.
  • Wear clean, dry socks every day and apply over-the-counter antifungal powder inside socks to keep feet dry.
  • Wear shoes with good support and a wide toe area.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms.

Image credit: iStock

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