Preventing onychomycosis in 5 steps

Here are the hygiene and behavioral rules that allow you to prevent them without too much effort.

They are quite easy to take, annoying to endure and sometimes difficult to eliminate. For this reason it is useful to know some hygiene and behavioral rules that allow you to prevent them without too much effort.

Onychomycosis, as mycoses of the nails of hands and feet are called, are caused by microorganisms (dermatophyte fungi and yeasts of the genus Candida) that prefer humid and hot environments, such as the inside of footwear, sports or other, which make the foot sweat, especially if worn for many hours a day and with socks that do not help absorb excess moisture.

To counteract the engraftment of pathogens and the colonization of nails, the first rule is to choose shoes made of natural materials or that in any case ensure the ventilation of the entire foot and, in particular, of the fingers.

Also avoid pointed or too narrow models that prevent good blood circulation, further favoring mycoses.

Season and outdoor conditions permitting, the ideal would be to use sandals, slippers or partially open shoes as much as possible, and always do it at home, at least for a few hours a day.

Daily cleaning and good habits

Another essential precaution: ensure adequate daily hygiene of the feet, washing them with mild detergents at the end of the day, after long walks and after any type of sporting activity.

The cleaning maneuvers must be respectful of the integrity of the skin (no abrasive sponges) and be followed by perfect drying, because the residual moisture after washing facilitates the maceration of the skin around the nails and between the fingers, increasing the risk of mycosis.

The care of the feet must be very careful if you attend gyms, swimming pools, spas and spas, all places where the environmental conditions favorable to the development of fungi and yeasts are combined with the attendance by a large number of people.

In these cases, to avoid problems it is essential never to walk barefoot, taking off your slippers by the pool and always wearing them when moving on common surfaces (corridors, bathrooms, showers, etc.).

In addition, it is good to check periodically (at least once a week) the appearance of the nails and the spaces between the fingers to immediately identify any suspicious signs (redness, abrasions, cuts, maceration of the skin or whitish fragments) and run for cover.

Regardless of the type of activity practiced, if you have feet that tend to sweat a lot, it is important to include absorbent insoles and / or powders in the shoes (possibly, even with antifungal activity, if you have already had bad experiences before) and remember to always wear socks, preferably cotton or soft wool and freshly laundered.

Essential to protect your hands

Moving on to the hands chapter, the most important aspect of the prevention of onychomycosis is not to let them soak too much, weakening the lamina and cuticles that surround the nail and making them, thus, easy prey for dermatophyte fungi and Candida albicans.

The advice, directed above all to housewives and to those who carry out professional activities that require frequent immersion (or washing) of hands in water or other liquids, is to wear protective rubber gloves.

Since, then, that even the latter, if used for a long time, can make the hands sweat and promote mycosis, it is advisable to choose the versions with cotton interior and / or insert small quantities of non-irritating absorbent powders.

If you want to avoid onychomycosis of the hands, you should also avoid torturing the skins around the nails, nor gnawing them overthinking or to keep stress at bay.

The cuts and the more or less extensive erosions that follow, as well as decidedly unsightly, are a privileged gateway for fungi and yeasts.

For the same reason, you should not cut your nails too short, nor leave sharp margins at the ends (and this also applies to the feet).

On the other hand, if you are proud of the beauty of your nails, you should not overlook the risk of onychomycosis associated with “professional” manicure (and pedicure).

In this case, the most effective prevention strategy is to choose qualified beauty centers and trusted professionals, avoiding the many “hands & nails” services, now present on every street corner.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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