Let's face it, the weather has been near-Arctic (remember those single-digit temps during the recent Bears-Cowboys game at Soldier Field?) And you're probably not going to hit North Avenue Beach anytime soon. But even when you are swaddled in Uggs and slippers, you still need to take measures to avoid toenail fungus.
Even during the cold months, fungi can invade your skin.
Here are a few daily habits that can go a long way in preventing fungus and other infections on the feet:
Carefully wash and dry your feet every day, and dry them completely after a bath or shower. Be sure to pay careful attention to the area between the toes. Foot powders, deodorants and soaks can reduce moisture and balance the pH of your skin.
Change socks daily. Try socks with Dri-Max fiber to wick away sweat or antimicrobial socks with silver and copper.
Switch shoes so you don't wear the same pair every day. Try shoes made of breathable materials such as leather or canvas. Disinfect your shoes each day with sprays or UV lighting.
Beware of bare feet. Wear flip-flops in public places such as pools or locker rooms – never go barefoot. And don't forget to disinfect these shoes as well.
Polishes and pedicures: Nails need to breathe, so keeping them constantly polished means a fungal infection could flourish. We suggest keeping nails bare or using anti-fungal polish (our nail tech uses this in the mani-pedis offered at our office. Our nail treatments are designed to avoid the spread of fungus or infections!) When getting pedicures, whirpool tubs should cleaned with medical-grade disinfectant and instruments should be properly sterilized (we follow these guidelines with our pedicures as well.)
Remember, a fungal toenail can take up to a year to grow out after treatment. At DM Foot and Ankle, Dr. Michelle Kim and I help many patients with fungal nails – we offer a top-of-the-line laser with a success rate of 85 percent, a figure that's much higher than that of topical or oral treatments.
If you suspect you have a fungal nail, don't keep hiding your feet. Call our office and we will be happy to start you on a path to having fungus-free feet.
By Diana Emini
December 20, 2013
Category: toenail fungus