There are many different kinds of fungal infections. Some of the most common include athlete’s foot, jock itch and ringworm. On the hands and feet, infections can be found under the nail, on or around the cuticles, and near nail edges or tips.
Fungal infections such as toe fungus and athlete’s foot are very contagious. Fungus spreads when someone comes in contact with another person’s fungus through objects like shoes, towels, nail care sets and even shower floors.
Developing a fungal infection
There are several things that will increase your chances of developing a fungal infection. Having recently taken antibiotics or oral steroids, having a weak immune system or having diabetes puts you most at risk.
Fungal infections also tend to be more common during warmer months. That’s because moist skin, such as skin that is not dried well after sweating or bathing, can greatly increase the chances of developing a fungal infection. Certain jobs or hobbies that may cause the hands and/or feet to be wet or damp for long periods of time can also increase the chances of developing an infection.
Wearing the same shoes every day can also cause fungal infections like toe fungus or athlete’s foot. This is especially true if the shoes are closed and not able to air out well.
Treating and preventing fungal infections
The best treatment is prevention. To help avoid fungal infections, maintain proper hygiene and follow these tips:
- Keep your nails short, dry and clean.
- Trim nails straight across and file down thickened areas.
- Wear socks and change them at least every 24 hours so your feet can “breathe.”
- Use an anti-fungal product as soon as you notice an infection to keep it from spreading.
- Select a well-known manicure and pedicure salon, and bring your own instruments.
- Don’t trim or pick at the skin around your nails.
- Don’t walk barefoot in public places such as pools, locker rooms and/or showers.
- Since fungal infections can spread from one person to another, wash your hands.
If you already have a fungal infection, there are over-the-counter treatments that are affordable alternatives to prescription medicines such as Fungi-Nail® Toe & Foot Anti-Fungal Solution and Fungi-Nail Toe & Foot Ointment.