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What Causes Nail Fungus Infections?

toenail fungus

Fungal infections of the nails, also known as onychomycosis, is a very common condition. In fact, it is the most common disease affecting the nails and accounts for more than half of all problems with the toenail and fingernails. Because they seem so easy to pick up, you may be wondering what causes nail fungus infections.

The Science Behind What Causes Nail Fungus Infections

Onychomycosis has numerous potential causes. Some people are simply more prone to developing a nail infection than others. Nail fungus infections often occur in the elderly and people with compromised immune systems due to chronic conditions such as diabetes, lupus, AIDS or leukemia. They are also common among people with poor circulation and the elderly. Though anyone can experience a fungal nail infection, they are more common in men than women, and they rarely occur in children.

There are several places where people commonly pick up nail fungus. Fungus thrives in warm, moist environments, and it is often found in places like gym locker rooms and at community swimming pools. If you frequently get manicures or pedicures, you may also be at risk for nail fungus. When salons do not properly sterilize the tools in between each client, it is possible to spread fungal infections from one person to another. Fungus can also live inside the foot baths at pedicure salons. To reduce your risk of getting an infection, bring your own tools and schedule your appointment first thing in the morning when everything is the cleanest. Also, only go to salons with excellent reputations.

Some of your regular daily activities can also put you at risk for nail fungus. If your feet sweat a lot and you wear shoes and socks that do not allow adequate air flow or absorb perspiration, fungus could develop. It can also develop on bath mats in your home when they are not washed regularly. You could also be at risk if you work or spend a lot of time in a warm, damp environment.

Avoid What Causes Nail Fungus Infections

When you know what causes nail fungus infections, you can take steps toward reducing your chances of getting one, but sometimes they still occur. If you have a small white or yellow spot under the surface of your nail, it may be an early sign of onychomycosis. When left untreated, the infection typically spreads and causes the entire nail to discolor. It many cases, it also causes the nail to thicken, become brittle, split or even start to lift away from the nail bed. Severe infections can be quite painful and, in individuals with weakened immune systems, they can even lead to more severe infections in other parts of the body.

Getting rid of onychomycosis can be tricky. Topical medications are slow acting, and systemic medications have numerous potentially dangerous side effects. When it comes to getting rid of nail fungus quickly and safely, nothing beats a laser. With laser nail fungus removal, it is possible to completely kill the infection without destroying surrounding tissue. With no known side effects, this method is the best way of getting rid of nail fungus once and for all.

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