Is there a fungus among us? Unfortunately, fungal infections of the feet and toenails are quite common—especially in a place like Coachella Valley, where temperatures are always warm-to-hot and the population skews a little older than the national average, which increases risk. The most notable infections are, of course, athlete’s foot and fungal toenails, both of which can be caused by the same types of fungi (and so one can lead to the other).
Fungal toenails in particular are stubborn; even though new developments in laser treatment make treatment much simpler and more effective than before, it’ll still take time for a deformed toenail to grow out and away. Athlete’s foot clears up faster, but it’s still best not to contract an infection in the first place.
So how do you keep your feet fungus free? Follow these tips to minimize your risk:
- Wash hands and feet regularly with soap and water—at least daily.
- Wear socks that wick away moisture.
- Wear breathable shoes that can vent humidity and get some airflow.
- Have at least two pairs of everyday shoes that you can rotate daily, giving each a full day to air out.
- Use antifungal powder or spray in shoes if necessary.
- Don’t go barefoot in public, particularly humid facilities such as gyms, locker rooms, public showers, or pools. Fungus lives in damp, dark spaces and can spread indirectly through contact with infected surfaces.
- Don’t share socks, shoes, towels, or other items that could carry the fungus with someone else who has a fungal infection.
- If you go to a nail salon, make sure that it is properly licensed and that all basins and tools are fully sterilized (not just washed) between uses. Schedule early in the day if you can.
- Avoid artificial nails or nail polish (even clear). These prevent nails from breathing and can trap moisture.
Our hope is that, by following these tips, you can help keep your feet fungus free! However, if you do pick up a fungal infection, it’s best to get it looked at by Dr. Harvey Danciger. You definitely want to take care of it before it spreads to other nails—or other people! You can request an appointment at our Palm Desert, CA location online, or give us a call at (760) 568-0108.