Nail fungus causes nail fungal infection, and they’re pretty common. But if you ignore them, they can cause more serious problems.
In this article, we’ll talk about nail fungus, how to know if you got it, and ways that will help you avoid them.
How to Detect Nail Fungus Infection
Different species of fungi affect nails. However, there are telltale symptoms you should observe to know if you are infected.
Obvious symptoms of nail fungus infection include:
- Thickened nails
- Whitish or yellow-brown discoloration
- Distorted nails
- Brittle nails
- Foul smell
Other kinds of infections can affect your nails, too. As such, it’s best to confirm the infection by seeing a doctor. He or she will then identify what kind of nail fungus or related infection is affecting your nail.
Common Kinds of Nail Fungus
Different kinds of nail fungus can infect your nails. Be sure you’re familiar with these.
Distal Subungual Fungus
The most common type of fungal nail infection, the distal subungual fungus, can grow in both your fingernails and toenails.
The outer edge of your nail develops a jagged appearance. Across it, there will be white and/or yellow streaks.
This infection spreads to the nail bed and even the underside of the nail.
White Superficial Infection
White superficial infections usually affect toenails. The infection starts on the top layer of the nail and grows distinct white spots on the nail.
As time passes, the white patches cover the nail completely. They then become rough, soft, and brittle. The spots can also become pitted and flaky.
Proximal Subungual Infection
Although it is uncommon, the proximal subungual infection can affect both fingernails and toenails.
If you have this infection, you will find yellow spots at the base of the nail. The infection then spreads upward.
If this infection happens to you, it might mean your immune system has problems. If not treated immediately, it can lead to a minor injury to the nail.
Candida yeasts cause candida infection, invading nails that have suffered infection or injuries before.
Candida often affects fingernails. The nails swell, turn red, and become tender to the touch. The nail may partially lift off the bed or be completely removed.
Common Causes of Nail Fungus Infection
Fungal nail infections can happen because of different fungal organisms.
The most common cause or type of fungi is called dermatophyte, while yeasts and molds can also cause infections.
People of any age can experience nail fungal infection, though older adults experience them more often. Their nails grow old, become dry, and turn brittle. The cracks then serve as home to fungi.
You run the risk of developing nail fungus if you:
- Are older, because of reduced circulation of blood, more years of exposure to fungi, and slower nail growth.
- Sweat heavily.
- Walk barefoot in damp, public areas like swimming pools, gyms, and shower rooms.
- Have an athlete’s foot.
- Have minor skin or nail injury, or skin condition.
- Have diabetes, blood flow problems, or a poor immune system.
Preventing Nail Fungus Infection
Luckily, you can prevent your nails from getting infected by fungus if you follow these simple tips:
- Wash hands and feet regularly – this is the single most effective way to avoid nail fungus infection.
- Trim nails, smooth the edges with a file and file down thickened areas.
- Disinfect your clip, files, and other tools after each use.
- Wear socks that absorb sweat and change socks regularly.
- Choose shoes that allow your feet to breathe.
- Wear slippers or other footwear in damp areas and public places.
- If you can, lose the nail polish and other chemicals.
Taking care of your nails to easily avoid nail fungus infections.
And if you think the infection is getting worse, do not try to self-medicate. Consult your doctor and determine the real reason behind your nail fungus infection.