When foreign bacteria or fungi enter the area of the nails, fungal infections can occur. Infection can include symptoms of redness, nail thickening, along with swelling and pain. A greenish yellow pus may or may not be present. Fungal infections may cause the nail to fall off.

It is important to treat nail infections as soon as possible, as these could lead to other medical complications compromising one's health. These 7 tips will help to prevent nail infections.

1. Use an Antifungal Foot Powder or Spray

The use of an antifungal foot powder or spray may help to prevent unwanted nail infections. Old shoes or boots could have an accumulated amount of bacteria, which can lead to fungal infections.

2. Keep Nails Short

Cutting the nails short and straight, and having the feet clean, are good ways of keeping fungus and nail infections away. Thicker areas of the nails that are hard to cut should at least be filed down.

Pulling and picking at hangnails is a good way of allowing fungus to grow around the nails, and should be avoided.

3. Cover the Feet in Public Places

Try to wear flip-flops or sandals when walking around swimming pools, the gym and locker areas, showers and spa locations, or any other area that may collect puddles of water and a warm moist environment. Bacteria and fungi tend to multiply in these areas.

4. Beware of Cross-Contamination

Be careful not to touch other nails when applying prescribed ointments to the infected area, as the other nails can become infected. Also, do not use the same nail file or nail clipper on the infected area, and then again on the rest of the nails. This can minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Individuals should avoid sharing shoes or nail files and clippers.

5. Dry Feet Properly

Bacteria and fungi will grow in moist areas of the skin and around areas of the nails. This is why it is important to dry the feet properly after washing and following showers. Powder can be applied after the shower to help to keep the feet dry.

Change the stockings daily to prevent bacteria from accumulating around the nail beds. It is best to wear socks that are made of cotton, as there will be less sweating, and a reduction of moisture prevents fungal infections. When having to dip the hands in water, wear latex or plastic gloves to keep the hands dry.

6. Choose a Reputable Manicurist and Pedicurist

Assure that the selected manicurist or pedicurist is reputable and sterilizes the equipment after each session. If a pedicure or manicure is to be done at home, do not cut the nails so short that an injury occurs to the nail or cuticle.

7. Eat Well to Maintain a Healthy Immune System

Eating well can help to maintain a healthy immune system, and assist to fight infections. Nail fungus infections often grow on individuals who have weaker immune systems.