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What Happened to Your Feet? Inside Fungal Infections

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toenail mushroomsInterestingly enough, a fungus is a kind of plant, many of which we eat. Mushrooms, mold, and mildew are examples of fungi. Fungi live in air, in soil, on plants, and in water, and on our bodies. Fungus grows best on warm, damp skin. Given all the many places that fungi grow, it’s no wonder catching a nail infection can appear very easy.

According to Richards (2011), the fungus that infects the nail usually spreads from infected skin close to the nail. Risk factors for catching a fungal nail infection are diabetes, immune system weakness, participating in contact sports, swimming and frequent contact with animals. 

Colorful Mushrooms

Fungal Infection Symptoms

Infected nails are by far not attractive and no amount of manicures and pedicures will beautify or camouflage a raging infection. Infected nails are brittle, thickened, ragged, and yellow or brown. Because they are brittle, they may lift, crumble, or flake. If you suspect a nail infection, see your healthcare provider. If your infection is mild, your provider may prescribe a topical medication. More severe infections may require taking pills by mouth. Your medications may come with instructions to take until the nail grows all the way out and there is no longer any sign of the fungal infection. Fingernails usually grow out within six months, twelve months for toenails.

Toenail Infection

Fungal Infection Prevention

Summertime is prime season for growing your very own crop of toenail fungus.  To help avoid a bumper crop, keep your hands and feet as dry as possible. Change socks often. Wear shoes that breathe well. Avoid going barefoot in public places, such as shower stalls and locker rooms at the gym. It is best to wear shower shoes in public showers and clean them often. 

feet in water

Sources

Richards, T. (2011). Onychomycosis.  NursingConsult, (2011)

The Mayo Clinic (2010), Nail Fungus

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About Mary Shelley

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Fungi are actually an entirely separate Kingdom of life: they are not plants. They do not photosynthesize, do not possess cell walls made of cellulose, and reproduce by means of spores rather than pollen.

  • Mary Shelley

    Thank you for the clarification. One of the main attributes that separates fungi from plants are that fungi do not make their own food. Yes, they are a separate kingdom and one that can wreak havoc on the summer sandal season nonetheless.

  • Dani

    What makes fungi difficult to treat is that they are similar in make up to us. They are eukaryotic organisms. Bacteria are prokaryotic which makes it easier to design medicine to target and attack them. We, humans are made up of eukaryotic cells so medicine designed to attack fungi also attack our own cells.