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Everything you ever wanted to know (and maybe didn’t) about fungal nail infections

Because they won’t go away if you just ignore them. Fact.

By BTYB Canesten
OK, so fungal nail infections are up there with giant huntsman and the end of Offspring season six on the list of things you wish never existed.
But they do. And they’re more common now than ever before.
Why?
Our modern-day, gym-loving lifestyle is a factor. Even if you’re not a gym fanatic, chances are you use communal changing rooms when you get the kids ready for swimming or at your weekly yoga class. And your monthly pedicure at the nail salon? Yep, that’s a culprit, too.But before you reach peak panic mood, here’s what you need to know about fungal nail infections.

They start out as just a white mark.

Nail infections are pretty easy to spot as they cause your nails to look and feel different. Signs to look for are white or yellow marks appearing at the tip of your nail. As the onychomycosis (aka nail fungus) takes over, your nail plate will become thick, brittle and sometimes crumbly. Nice.

You’re seven times more likely to get an infected toenail than a fingernail.

According to the British Medical Journal, a fungal infection is more likely to occur on your toenails, than your fingernails. Seven times more likely, in fact. Why? Fungi flourishes in warm, dark places like shoes, plus it’s contagious so often gets transferred from foot to foot via socks, shoes and flooring. Tip: always wear thongs when you’re at the gym or pool.
Reference:
Eisman S et al. Fungal nail infection. Diagnosis and Management British Medical Journal 2014.

If you smoke, you’re more at risk.

Even though anyone who goes barefoot in a communal changing room is at risk, you’re more prone to catching a fungal nail infection if you’re a smoker or have circulation issues. Strange, but true. You’re also at a higher risk of catching one as you get older, due to age-relating nail thickening and a variety of other contributing factors.

They won’t go away untreated, but you can treat them at home.

For those thinking of ignoring the problem, bad news: fungal nail infections have a tendency to stick around, but the good news is, they are treatable at home with an anti-fungal treatment. You'll need an over-the-counter option that combines both urea 40% and bifonazole 1%. This type of anti-fungal treatment has been shown to be much quicker than anti-fungal nail lacquers at treating infection. Try Canesten Fungal Nail Treatment Set, $59.99. You’ll start to see visible improvement in the appearance of your nail in just four weeks.

Be careful about treating fungal nail infections when you’re pregnant.

As with all medicine, if you’re pregnant, planning on getting pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t start treating your fungal nail infection without speaking to your healthcare professional first.

And, always dry in between your toes.

If you’ve gone into hyper-prevention mode or just want to stop a nail infection from reoccurring, there are a few simple things you can do. Keep your feet clean and dry where possible, making sure that you dry in between your toes every time you shower. Don’t share shoes and socks with others and always keep a spare pair of thongs in your gym bag to avoid the dreaded communal changing room floor. Plus, when you book in for some pampering, ensure that your nail salon always uses tools that are clean and sterilised.
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Brought to you by Canesten. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.

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