Nail fungus can be as common as a cold. One in every ten people suffers from this condition at least once in their lives. The most common culprits are environments that are breeding grounds for the fungus and spread the infection. Areas such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and hot tubs tend to be the worst environments for this infection. It leads to discoloration, thick nails and overall embarrassment. Many people will try to deal with their situation by wearing shoes and socks constantly.
While not as common as toenail fungus, there is a possibility of getting fingernail fungal infections as well. This is a much harder condition to hide than the toenail fungal infection. Many of the symptoms are the same with both kinds of infection.
One of the main differences between toenail infections and fingernail infections is how they can be spread. While feet are often covered in socks and shoes the hands are left uncovered most of the time. However, the same environmental factors cause the infection to spread. So situations where hands are often wet can increase the risks. For example, dishwashers or people who frequently wear tight gloves to protect their hands from chemicals often are at risk. Even cooks or people who work in daycare settings can be at risk because they are constantly washing their hands. A small cut or nick that results in damage to the nail can allow an infection to enter the nail bed.
Even if you do not expose yourself to wet environments or wear gloves very often, you can still be at risk if someone close to you has a fingernail fungal infection. Sharing the same towels to dry your hands can be a way to spread infections. You can also spread an infection to your own fingernails if you have a toenail fungal infection. Constantly handling your toes that are infected but not remembering to wash your hands can spread the infection to your fingernail bed and hands. Wearing artificial nails or even those who work in nail shops are often more susceptible to infections as well.
There are a few ways to try to prevent fingernail fungal infections or at least reduce the associated risks. Since moisture seems to be one of the main culprits, keeping nails and fingers dry is a good start. This also means that in situations where one has to wear gloves or often ends up with wet hands, taking steps to keep them dry, should be taken as often as possible. People who bite their nails frequently or pick at their toes should take steps to cease these behaviors as soon as possible.
Many of the same types of treatments for toenail infections are offered as cures for fingernail infections. However some of the same risks apply and the lack of effectiveness in many of the treatments is the same. Oral medications can take months to even know if they are going to work. There is also the increased risk of side effects including severe liver damage. Creams, ointments and various nail treatments do not usually work because they only treat the top of the nail bed and do not get to the actual infection under the skin and nail bed.
One of the most effective treatments has been found to be laser treatment. It is quicker, safer and more effective than most other treatments.
Meta description: Toenails are not the only place that can get a fungal infection. Get more information on fingernail infections and ways to prevent and treat it.