Fungal nail infections can not only knock your confidence, but can also lead to pain and discomfort down the line

For many of us, summer is the time of year when we finally let our feet breathe in sandals and flip-flops after months cooped up in shoes. This is especially true if you’re planning a trip abroad to somewhere hot and sunny over the coming months.

However, for those with conditions like fungal nail infections, the thought of getting your feet out in public can be a daunting one. With any condition, understanding it is the first step to beating it, which is why we’re going to show you how to spot, prevent and treat fungal nail infections this summer.

What is a fungal nail infection?

A fungal infection can affect any part of the body, and is normally present alongside various bacteria. When the fungus starts to grow, an infection can occur. Onychomycosis, also known as tinea unguium, is the name of the fungal infection which grows specifically in the fingernails or toenails.

What causes a fungal nail infection?

A fungal nail infection occurs as the result of an overgrowth of fungi in, on or under the nail. These fungi thrive in warm and moist environments, making them more common on your toenails as your feet spend more time confined within shoes and socks.

Fungal nail infections can also be spread through contact. If you receive a manicure or pedicure at a salon, it’s important to query whether the tools have been effectively disinfected, as emery boards and clippers can spread fungal infections from person to person if not sanitized.

Who is at risk of fungal nail infections?

Anyone can get a fungal nail infection if they put themselves at risk. However, certain people have been shown to be more susceptible. Infections are more common in men than women, and more likely to occur in adults than children, especially those older than 65. If you have a relative who often gets fungal nail infections you are also more likely to get them.

Other risks factors include:

  • Having diabetes
  • Having a disease that causes poor circulation
  • Swimming in a public pool
  • Suffering a nail injury or an injury to the skin around the nail
  • Wearing artificial nails
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Wearing closed-toe shoes

What are the signs of a fungal nail infection?

Fungal nail infections can affect part of a nail, the whole nail or more than one nail. Symptoms usually include:

  • Scaling under the nail (subungual hyperkeratosis)
  • A distorted nail that lifts off the nail bed
  • White or yellow streaks on the nail (lateral onychomycosis)
  • An odour coming from the infected nail
  • Crumbing corner or tip of the nail (distal onychomycosis)
  • A brittle or thickened nail
  • White flaky areas on the nail surface
  • Yellow spots at the bottom of the nail (proximal onychomycosis)
  • Loss of the nail completely

How do you prevent a fungal nail infection?

Thankfully, fungal nail infections are preventable with a few simple lifestyle changes. Taking care to ensure your nails are clean, dry and well trimmed is the best way to avoid infection. You can also:

  • Dry your feet well after showering, especially between your toes
  • Use antifungal sprays regularly
  • Reduce your use of artificial nails and nail varnish
  • Avoid being barefoot in public places
  • Wear socks that minimise moisture

How do you treat a fungal nail infection?

If you do suffer with a fungal nail infection, take comfort in the knowledge that effective anti-fungal medication is available. Curanail is a treatment specifically designed to fight infections in fingernails and toenails. It has been clinically proven to clear over 75% of fungal toenail infections (and 85% of fungal fingernail infections) within six months.

Anti-fungal medication like Curanail is available from Express Pharmacy. Get in touch with our team of expert pharmacists today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet live chat service.