Toenail infection first manifests as a tiny yellow or white spot under the tip of the nail. After some time, the spots become larger and cause very noticeable nail discoloration. Then, the nail thickens and cracks along the edges. In most cases, the infection is isolated in just one or two nails, but when the infection worsens, it could affect the remaining healthy nails.
Discover the Causes of this Fungal Infection
Fungi are living microorganisms that resembles and functions like a plant. These are single-celled organisms that thrive in damp and dark areas. These organisms reproduce quickly via their spores, a spherical body that is released in the air when a fungal body matures. There are certain circumstances where they rapidly proliferate and cause severe health problems such as the toenail fungal infection. Learn what causes toenail fungus below.
- Poor Hygiene. Maintaining a poor hygiene often results to illnesses. Among the many problems you can suffer from if you don’t tidy up is the toenail infection. Fungi grow best in damp places. If you don’t have a habit of washing your feet or drying them clean, you are putting yourself at risk to develop this infection. Furthermore, putting on wet socks or shoes can also increase your chances of contracting the said toenail problem.
- Exposure to Dirty Water. Even tidy individuals can get affected by this infection. If you frequently get exposed to dirty water, you can also get your toes infected. Fungi bodies are everywhere. Dirty and wet places are among the most usual places where they thrive the most. If your feet get wet with dirty water, do your best to clean and dry them thoroughly. Wash them with disinfectant and remove the accumulated dirt underneath the nails.
- Exposure to an Infected Person. Because fungal spores are rapidly produced and released, individuals who are infected can pass on the disease to other healthy individuals. If you live with a person who is infected with the toenail fungus, you can protect yourself by maintaining a good hygiene and avoid using the person’s shoes or socks. You should also avoid sharing other personal items like blankets and towels.
Risk Factors You Need to Know
Aside from the top causes of toenail fungus discussed above, there are also risk factors that increases your likelihood of getting infected. Studies suggest that this infection is more prevalent among men. Men who also have a family history of fungal infections can get this disease as well. There are other factors too such as the following:
- Athlete’s Foot. Athlete’s Foot is another is another type of fungal infection. Unlike the toenail infection, it affects the whole foot. It is a contagious disease that if left untreated can give rise to the rapid growth of fungal bodies underneath your toenails.
- Weak Immune System. A weakened immune system can cause plenty of health problems. Under this condition, you are most likely to contract various types of infection because the body cannot fend off the pathogens such as the toenail fungus.
- Old Age. As you age, your body’s defensive functions also weaken. Older individuals become more susceptible to different types of illnesses. The body is less agile to fight off illnesses, regardless if it’s a bacterial, viral or fungal infection.