Archive for the ‘Nail Fungus Prevention’ Category
Your Local Gym as the Breeding Ground
for Fungus Infection
When people go to the gym, they think about getting healthy, building muscle, losing weight, an adrenaline rush, not about what might make them sick. Unfortunately the gym and public pool are both great places for the fungus that causes nail infections to breed and spread.
Why is this? Well most of these places have a place to change (even if it is just a dressing room) or a locker room with showers, even just a place out in the open to rinse off. All of these places have the potential to create colonies of fungus. As many of them have a tiled floor, the fungus likes to breed in the grout, the white glue between the tiles. When you walk over this grout with bare feet, you risk having the spores of the fungus attach themselves to you and find a way underneath your nails. How awful that you are able to take time to do something good for yourself, only to discover that you have accidentally contracted an infection, through no real fault of your own.
How Can I Prevent This?
The first thing to look at is your own footwear. If your gym shoes are old and worn out, they may be a potential breeding ground for fungus of many kinds all on their own! It may just be time to invest in a new pair of gym shoes. If you are able to, consider getting two pair so that you can rotate between them, allowing one pair to dry out thoroughly before you wear them again. Either way, make certain your shoes are dry inside before you put them on for exercise. Wear clean socks with them as socks can also hide fungal spores.
When you walk into the shower, wear some sort of rubber flip flop or shower shoe to protect the soles of your feet. Again, make certain that these dry out before you put them on as the humidity and darkness of the average shoe makes for ideal fungal breeding grounds.
Keep yourself healthy over all. If you go to the gym when you’re sick, absolutely practice good hygiene and make certain to wash your hands and feet, with soap and dry them well. The less chance of the fungus having a good place to live, the less likely they will be to grow.
And What Do I Do if I Do Become Infected?
If you catch it early, meaning your toenail has turned white or yellow at the tips but it hasn’t affected the entire nail yet, or gotten thick and brittle, you can soak your toes in vinegar. Take a large bowl or tub, fill it with half vinegar, half warm water, and soak the infected toes in it for 20-30 minutes, twice daily until the toenails have cleared up. Vinegar changes the pH of the growing environment for the nail fungus, making it “hostile”, thus harder for them to live in. White or apple cider vinegar are usually the best choices for treating a fungal nail infection.
The Places Toenail Fungus Like To Hide
Permanently ridding yourself of a nail fungus infection once it has taken hold can be a very difficult job. The fungus grows slowly but strongly and by the time you see the initial symptoms, a great deal of damage has already occurred. The fungus likes to work its way underneath the nail so that it uses the nail as a shield to keep it warm and moist, its favorite growing environment. It also makes it easier for the infection to reoccur after what seems like successful treatment because the fungus can lie dormant underneath the nail, then start growing again once the treatment ceases.
How Does a Nail Fungus Grow?
A fungus is a parasitic growth that prefers darkness to sunlight, as it has no chlorophyll. It does have roots and spreads via spores. Much like its cousin the mushroom, the body of the fungus looks like an umbrella. The spores spread and grow in dark, damp places. The most common cause of toenail fungus is wearing shoes as they hold in the moisture of sweat and keep the toenails in the dark. Also, most people wear the same pair of moisture absorbing shoes over and over again without allowing them to dry and air properly. Your body gives off both moisture and heat, providing the fungus with the perfect living environment.
Besides Shoes, Where Else Do Fungus Hide?
Exercise mats, such as yoga mats are ideal breeding grounds for the spores that cause nail fungus. Although the mat is made of rubber, which you would think is impenetrable, it soaks up the heat and moisture while you exercise. Then after your workout, you roll it up and stick it away until next time, providing the perfect growing environment for the fungus to attack your feet.
Flip-Flops that people wear into public showers are another good breeding ground for fungus, especially because most people don’t allow them to dry thoroughly before using them again. Ironically, the very item you use to protect your feet becomes the transmitter for the fungus you are trying to avoid.
Remedies To Treat Nail Fungus
There are many ointments and nail fungus solutions available over the counter or on the Internet to clear up nail fungus infections.
Most people try these, or home remedies before resorting to taking an oral antifungal medication to clear up the fungal nail infection as there are risky side effects associated with these treatments.
Mixing Tea Tree Oil and mineral oil as a toe soak is a home remedy solution. The mineral oil works to soften both the nail and surrounding skin, the Tea Tree Oil is a natural antifungal and antiseptic. Combined, these can be a powerful treatment for your nail fungus problem. This, and all nail fungus treatments, will take a while to show results and to cure the problem permanently, so you have to be patient and practice these remedies regularly so the full healing process can take place.
How Can I Permanently Cure My Toenail Fungus?
Doctors tend to shy away from the word “cure” when referring to toenail fungus because it is not an easy thing to do. We have become a very busy society that believes popping a pill will take care of everything. Unfortunately that is not the case with toenail fungus. Onychomycosis, the medical term for toenail fungus is hard to cure because the treatment regimen is very long and can be quite involved. Most kinds of fungus are able to lie dormant for a long period so people will go through treatment and get positive results, only to find that the infection returns. Curing toenail fungus permanently is a possibility, it just take work and patience.
Several factors must be taken into account when examining your chances of curing toenail fungus. First is how far along your toenail fungal infection is. If you can catch it early, you stand a better chance of eliminating it entirely. As a fungal infection progresses, it goes from the skin surrounding the toenail into and under the toenail, where it becomes much harder to eradicate. Second is your own level of commitment. Treating toenail fungus is much more involved than just taking a pill. The idea is to create a hostile environment for the fungus so that they die off. This may involve washing your feet several times a day with a special soap and then donning clean socks each time. Yes, this is a lot of work (and extra laundry) but if you wish to control and end the toenail fungal infection, you will need to follow all of your doctor’s instructions as well as educate yourself on how to avoid recurrence.
The most unfortunate part about curing toenail fungus is that the statistics are so out of whack on actual success because so many people get frustrated part way through their cure and give up, or they miss a day or two and get pushed back by two weeks. This negates the outcome of the studies that have been done, or at least makes the conclusion “unknown”. If you are going to treat your toenail fungus, you need to address all of the problems and be willing to put in the time and effort it will take to achieve a successful result.
Oral prescription medication
If you and your doctor decide that the oral prescription medication is the way to go, ask about helping the process along by using a natural topical antifungal like Tea Tree Oil as part of your healing regimen. Giving your body help from both the inside and the outside can work in your favor. The goal behind combining your efforts is to permanently eradicate the fungi living off of you. This combination of efforts will take effort on your part in maintaining a healthy for you/not healthy for the fungus environment.
The biggest barrier to a cure for toenail fungus for most people is the amount of time and work that go into treatment of this disease. Washing your feet and applying medication 2-3 times a day as well as doing extra laundry to make sure your socks are clean and finding shoes that allow your feet to breath will become stressful. You must remember that missing one day of treatment will undo the last four you worked so hard on as it only takes the fungus one day to re-establish themselves. If you can stick to the program, with the help of your doctor, you can permanently end your toenail fungus problem.
Children and Nail Fungus Infections
Although it is far less likely than not that a child will contract a nail fungus infection, it does happen. Onychomycosis, or nail fungus, is more commonly an adult disease, but as children spend a great deal of time getting into things they shouldn’t and playing in the dirt, they have as much potential as anyone else to attract the fungus that causes the infection.
For kids, the infection is more of a social affliction than anything. Other children may see the infected nail and want to avoid the person with the nail fungus because they think they’ll get sick. This can be really rough on a child’s self esteem.
And as the nail fungus infection develops, the nail can become painful and even possibly fall off. So treating the infection, or better yet avoiding the infection entirely is the best solution.
The infection tends to show up as whitish or yellowish spots on the nail, then gradually grows to cover the nail surface entirely so that the nail is opaque. The nail will then become thicker and more brittle, possibly flaking or crumbling at the edges. Depending on the type of infection, the nail can disengage from the nail bed and fall off, which can be very painful.
How Can I Prevent My Child From Becoming Infected?
Start by teaching your children good hygiene. Make them wash their hands when they come inside after playing. This will quickly remove any spores they may have picked up outside. Get a soft nail-brush and show them how to scrub underneath their nails as well, as that can be a very common area that nail fungus attack.
Keep your children’s nails trimmed close to the tips of their fingers and toes, as the less exposed nail there is, the less surface is available to the spores to invade.
Put antifungal powder in their shoes overnight so they don’t risk infection from wearing shoes all the time. Wash their socks in bleach to kill off anything that might be lurking in the fibers.
If you do end up with a child contracting a fungal nail infection, simple methods of controlling the disease are:
• Rubbing Tea Tree Oil on the infected nail and surrounding skin
• Soaking the infected nail in a solution of vinegar and water twice a day
• Clean underneath the nails to remove the dirt and then wipe with rubbing alcohol to kill the fungus.
If these solutions don’t have an effect, you can speak with your child’s doctor about other available treatments. Some of these, particularly the oral antifungal medications, do carry the risk of liver damage, so be careful which option you choose, and make sure your child’s health is up to the treatment.
Curing Toenail Fungus with Tea Tree Oil
It is very uncommon for a doctor to recommend an alternative remedy over a prescription medicine. However in the case of Tea Tree Oil, this happens more often than not. Tea Tree Oil is a naturally occurring medicine and has been shown to be effective at eliminating the fungus that causes toenail infections. The Mayo Clinic has even run studies to confirm this. So why is this oil so effective? Because of its own natural physical properties.
This plant is native to Australia and has been used for centuries by the aboriginal people for curing and preventing infections. The plant acts as an antimicrobial and while the medical community sees much potential in the Tea Tree, the majority of studies have centered around Tea Tree Oil being used as an antifungal. The treatment of a fungal infection takes a long time and it is not uncommon for someone participating in a study to give up and drop out part way through. Even one person doing this can throw off the results of a study, leaving it with the result of “null and void” or “unclear”.
Tea Tree Oil Popularity
No matter that the Mayo Clinic has run studies on this product, the general public has taken to Tea Tree Oil like a duck to water. If you run a search on Tea Tree Oil, you will find not only a wide variety of products and distributors, but also people singing its praises, telling how it helped them treat their toenail fungus infections. This information can be found both as testimonials on distributor websites but also as entries and responses on forums. This is real data submitted by real people, saying how happy they are that they were able to find a natural remedy to cure their nail fungus infection completely and inexpensively. As with all medications, both prescription and alternative, the results will vary from person to person and how long it takes or if it is effective will depend on the severity of the infection.
It is recommended that the strength of the Tea Tree Oil is 100% and that it is applied to the surface of the infected nail and surrounding tissue to ensure that all hiding places for the fungus are covered. If you plan on a Tea Tree Oil regimen, it is recommended to purchase some soap or shampoo that contains Tea Tree Oil and use it to wash your feet several times a day. Once your feet are clean, dry them thoroughly and then apply the Tea Tree Oil directly to the affected areas. Mind the amount you use as too much can cause irritation.
Please note: Tea Tree Oil is a topical treatment only and should never be ingested as it can cause a severe toxic reaction! As with any medication, if you experience an allergic reaction, discontinue use immediately, wash the affected areas with soap that doesn’t contain tea tree oil and contact your doctor. This may be an herbal remedy, but your doctor should still be informed that you are using it and how you are progressing because it is still a medication, even if it is a natural one. This is even more important if you have any sort of skin condition, such as eczema. Remember that fungus like dark, damp environments and the more you can do to discourage a place for them to develop, the less likely it will be that you will contract an infection.