An Ounce Of Prevention

If someone in your family has toenail fungus, you may be anxious about catching it yourself. Toenail fungus is a contagious disease and such apprehension is not out of place. But with a little insider knowledge, you should be able to keep the nasty condition from attacking your tootsies. Here's how:

Spare Pairs

*Keep spare socks with you in your purse, gym bag, or glove compartment for those times when you realize your feet are sweaty. Keeping your feet dry prevents them from being a breeding ground for fungus.

OTC Powder

*Buy a decent over-the-counter foot powder to keep on hand for applying just before you workout. A workout can make you build up a sweat, and sweat leads to the damp environment that fungi love to inhabit. Powder keeps your toes and feet dry as a bone.

*Crocs are a boon to mankind for keeping away toenail fungus in places like public baths and showers, pools, and locker rooms. Walking on tippy-toes doesn't cut it when it comes to catching fungus. Where do you think those fungi attack, anyhow?? They get you in the toes. The reason for that is that nails are made of dead cells called keratin which is also found in hair. Keratin is a yummy food for fungi, who like to snack on the stuff.

Don't Share

*Sharing is not caring. Don't share your nail clippers with anyone, not even your kid or your husband. Fungi like to hang around on clippers so they can find a new host. They can live for a bit on metal, waiting around for their next unwitting victim. By the way, clipping nails comes with a risk of clipping bits of skin, giving a perfect entryway for fungi. Yup—the creatures are opportunistic.

*Natural is best. Make sure you buy socks made of fabrics that breathe. Natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk are ideal, but cotton is the best of the three, since wool and silk may overheat your feet, causing them to sweat. The lack of air, and the dark, damp quality of feet enclosed in non-breathing socks are fungi's best friends. If you have the kind of feet that sweat, find time to air them out, whenever you can. Men tend to sweat more than women, so they're at twice the risk of getting a toenail fungus infection.

Distinct Possibility

*Don't use toenail polish. It traps sweat and bacteria on the surface of the nail, making toenail fungus a distinct possibility.

*Keep your nails short. Snagging the edge of a nail is a risk that comes with long nails and can result in injury to the nail bed. Such an injury compromises your body's ability to fight off attacking fungi.

*Smoking affects your ability to fight off attacking pathogens such as fungi. Stop smoking and your body will be stronger and more able to repel toenail fungus.