Toenail fungus infection is far from a harmful condition. However, it is an issue that can be really annoying. Most patients require a lot of time to handle it, and when using regular drugs, there is a high chance of encountering serious side effects.
In this article, we'll answer the question "Is toenail fungus contagious" and share 5 important facts about this nasty medical condition.
How to diagnose toenail fungus?
It isn’t that hard diagnosing this condition. Even if you don’t have medical training, you can easily tell that you’re suffering from toenail fungus based on discoloration.
Treating this issue is a bit problematic as most drugs are really strong. This is why people tend to use topical creams and other home remedies. Unfortunately, this prolongs the treatment, which is why sometimes toenail fungus starts spreading around and can become quite contagious.
Here are five of the main things you need to know about toenail fungus infections and whether or not they’re infectious.
It is usually a local issue
Unlike popular opinion, it is relatively hard for the toenail fungus to infest other areas of your body. If it does, it will affect the other toenails. So, why does it attack toenails? Fungus thrives in humid environments, and the bottom of your nails is an ideal environment for it. Fungus, in general, can be troublesome, but when we're talking about toenail fungus, it is more of a cosmetic issue. Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't address the problem. If you leave it be for a while, there is an increased chance that your other toenails will be affected, which will prolong the treatment period once you decide to start doing it.
Potential complications are possible
As already mentioned, this is mostly a local issue that might spread to surrounding nails. In some cases, it will affect the surrounding skin as well. In such cases, a patient may develop athlete's foot. A more severe complication is a genital fungus. This happens because we remove pants over our toenails as there is a chance we will scrape fungus with them. So, you will have to be very attentive when putting your clothes on or off. It is also recommended that you wash your clothes at higher temperatures in order to counter microorganisms. However, experts say that the best way to avoid genital fungus is by putting socks on your feet before putting pants on/off.
Age makes it harder
Like with most other medical conditions, there is an increased chance you will suffer from toenail fungus as you get older. It is especially common for people who are above 60 years old. So, if you notice something wrong with your toenails, we recommend that you start treating it as soon as possible. Treating toenail fungus is also much harder for people who are older, so you will need to approach it with a certain seriousness
It can spread on other individuals
As you can presume, the fungus can be really contagious in certain situations. Of course, you don't have to worry about this if you're simply spending time with a person. But, you will have to pay attention to their feet and whether you're exchanging objects which they touched with their feet. Perhaps the most common way of getting a toenail fungus from another person is if you exchange socks or shoes. This might happen with other family members or spouses. Athletes also have a higher chance of contracting it. Oftentimes, people share the same sports props. It is especially common for swimmers, rowers, and in some other sports.
It can also be caused by an injury
Lastly, we have to mention that nail fungus can occur due to an injury. Again, athletes are the biggest risk group. If you’re practicing a sport where your feet and toenails are always endangered, there will be an increased chance of getting toenail fungus. For example, if your toenail is separated, there is an increased chance that the nail bed will get infected as the toenail regenerates.
So, how contagious is toenail fungus exactly?
Well, it is not as dangerous as some people think. However, it does require proper attention, preventive measures, and general awareness. Perhaps the most important responsibility is not spreading it to other people.
Athletes and older people are the biggest risk groups, but it can happen to anyone. If you notice discolored or brittle toenail, don't be embarrassed, but instead, seek out medical assistance!