It is much easier to prevent nail fungus than it is to treat it after it has set in.
These habits can help prevent nail fungus or reinfections:
- Wash your hands after touching an infected nail. Nail fungus can spread from nail to nail.
- Don't go barefoot in public places. Wear sandals or shoes around pools, showers, and locker rooms.
- Wash your hands and feet regularly and keep your nails short and dry. Wash your hands and feet with soap and water, rinse, and dry thoroughly, including between the toes. Trim nails straight across and file down thickened areas.
- Wear socks that absorb sweat. Fabrics effective at wicking away moisture include wool, nylon and polypropylene. Change your socks often, especially if you have sweaty feet.
- Choose shoes that reduce humidity. It also helps to occasionally take off your shoes or wear open-toe footwear. Let shoes air out for 24 hours before wearing them.
- Discard old shoes. If possible, avoid wearing old shoes, which can harbor fungi and cause a reinfection. Or treat them with disinfectants or antifungal powders.
- Use an antifungal spray or powder. Spray or sprinkle your feet and the insides of your shoes.
- Wear rubber gloves. This protects your hands from overexposure to water. Between uses, turn the gloves inside out to dry.
- Don't trim or pick at the skin around your nails. This may give germs access to your skin and nails.
- Choose a reputable nail salon. Make sure the place you go for a manicure or pedicure sterilizes its instruments. Better yet, bring your own and disinfect them after use.
- Give up nail polish and artificial nails. Although it may be tempting to hide nail fungal infections under a coat of pretty pink polish, this can trap unwanted moisture and worsen the infection.