Who is most at risk from fungal nails?

While fungal nail infections remain extremely common and just about anyone can develop a nail infection, specific individuals are at more risk than others.

These risks include a person’s age; generally, older individuals suffer from fungal infections more often than children. Fungal nail infections are rare in those aged under six.

Some of the other risk factors include.


The Role of Climate

While here in Ireland, we may not always get the best weather our summers are often hot and humid. This type of climate is ripe for fungal nail infections. Fungi thrive in hot and moist conditions, so always wear loose-fitting open-toe shoes in hot conditions.


Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can increase the risk of developing a fungal nail infection. These conditions include:

  • Cancer, especially those undergoing chemotherapy
  • Diabetes
  • Athlete’s Foot (or any skin infection caused by a fungus)
  • If your nail is injured or if you’ve undergone nail surgery
  • Bad circulation
  • If you have a family history of nail infections
  • A weakened immune system
  • Psoriasis


Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of a fungal nail infection. Some of these factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Having wet feet for significant periods throughout the day
  • Wearing plastic gloves for long periods throughout the day
  • Spending a lot of time in the water
  • Wearing tight-fitting close-toed shoes
  • Walking in humid areas like locker rooms, public showers etc. in your bare feet


What Causes Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is caused by microscopic organisms called fungi. Fungi spread through skin-to-skin contact, making locker rooms or public showers particularly ripe for spreading fungi.

Nail infections can also be spread from sharing nail clippers and towels. Also, nail infections can occur if you frequently wear sweaty socks or shoes. Infections happen around minor cuts in the nail or a crack in the nail and or the separation between the nail and toe.

The vast majority of fungal nail infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, if you regularly get infections or have a particularly bad fungal nail infection, please make an appointment in our podiatry clinic.



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