Cologne (dpa) – Preventing athlete’s foot by keeping your feet dry is the most effective way to avoid catching a toenail fungus, a German health institute has concluded.
This means towelling them off thoroughly after bathing or showering, or even blow-drying them, advises the Cologne-based Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care(IQWiG), an independent institute that receives commissions from Germany’s government.
Further preventative measures include well-ventilated shoes, not wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row and taking them off as often as possible.
Rubber sandals should be worn in communal showers, and towels and socks shouldn’t be shared. Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection between the toes and on the skin of the feet, is thought to lead to toenail fungus, which is more common than fingernail fungus. Symptoms of nail fungus, also called onychomycosis, are nails that are whitish-yellow or brownish, crumbly, thickened, or that partly separate from the nail bed. The fungus usually appears on the upper or lateral edge of the nails, and more rarely on the nail root – a form of onychomycosis that particularly affects people with a seriously weakened immune system.
In white superficial onycho-mycosis, small, white patches of fungus form on the nails. Nail fungal infections are typically caused by fungi called dermatophytes. Yeasts and moulds are also possible causes, the former tending to affect the fingernails.