Summer’s here, which means beaches, swimming pools, sandals, flip-flops… and toenail fungus.
There’s no question that summer’s a great time but it does come with increased risk of toenail fungus and athelete’s foot due to the heat and humidity. Even if you live in a dry climate, the perspiration your own body gives off creates humid conditions in your shoes and sandals, creating an ideal environment for fungi to thrive. Common places that people visit in the summer like swimming pools, gym locker rooms and showers.
But you shouldn’t have to lessen your enjoyment of summer just because of this. Just keep in mind these 9 ways to prevent toenail fungus and you can keep your feet healthy and beautiful all year round.
1. Wash your feet daily and well
A lot of people neglect their feet while taking showers but make sure to clean them well on a daily basis. Clean between the toes as well. After the shower, be sure to dry your feet well. Moisture left on your feet, especially in areas like between your toes, can encourage fungal growth.
2. Clip your toenails properly
Clip your toenails straight across and don’t cut too much. Wash your hands after clipping or touching your toes and disinfect the clippers with alcohol.
3. Choose the right kind of footwear
To prevent toenail fungus you should buy shoes that (a) fit properly and (b) are breathable. Fitting properly means that the tips of your shoes aren’t touching your toenails. But if they’re too big your feet can slide forward and your toes can touch the ends as well. So not too big and not too small. And if you have wide feet, make sure to get wide-fitted shoes.
Breathable footwear also helps prevent toenail fungus because the more air that can circulate in your shoes the drier your feet will be. Leather and canvas are the most breathable materials for shoes. There are also shoes made just for this purpose like the Saucony Cortana 2 (for athletic shoes) or shoes by Geox (for dress shoes).
4. Alternate the shoes you wear
Our feet sweat quite a bit over the course of a day. The moisture from the sweating can sometimes last into the next day. This is especially true for workout shoes. Wearing the same pair day after day can therefore increase your risk of nail fungus and athlete’s foot. Invest in a few different pairs if possible and wear them on a rotational basis.
5. Replace old shoes
This one should be pretty obvious but some people hold onto their shoes long after they should have been replaced. Sterilization can be an option too if you just can’t bring yourself to throw those trusty old pair of sneakers away.
6. Wear synthetic socks
Synthetic socks can be better than cotton ones at wicking moisture away and letting your feet breathe.
7. Use antifungal powder or antimicrobial spray
Sprinkling antifungal powder in your socks and your shoes before wearing them can help prevent the growth of fungal spores. Another thing you can do instead of, or along with, using antifungal powder is to use an antimicrobial spray. Micro-Guard is a good antifungal powder, and Clean Sweep is a good antimicrobial spray.
8. Don’t go barefoot in public facilities
For obvious reasons, public facilities like locker rooms and swimming pool areas are prime breeding grounds for fungi. As much as possilbe, avoid walking around barefoot in these places. Wear flip-flops. It’s even a good idea to leave them on while taking a shower in a public facility. Just remember to clean or replace them when they get dirty or it will be counterproductive.
9. Clean bathroom and tiled floors
Because they tend to be damp, bathrooms are like natural farms for mold and fungi, especially if there isn’t good ventilation. And when it comes to toenail fungus and athlete’s foot, the tiled floor is the area of greatest concern. Due to the texture of the grout used in tiled floors, mold and fungi can get stuck in there. Periodically clean the tiled floor using a disinfectant cleaner or, if you prefer something natural, vinegar.
Remember: the best way to treat toenail fungus is to prevent toenail fungus!
Just keep your feet clean, dry and ventilated by following these tips and you should be able to enjoy a fungus-free summer!