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Fungal Nail Infections (cont.)

Prevention

After your fungal nail infection has been successfully treated, take steps to prevent the infection from coming back.

  • Before bed, thoroughly wash and dry your feet or hands. Then apply a topical antifungal, such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or ciclopirox (Penlac), directly to your skin or nail. Use the topical medicine twice a week for up to 1 year.2
  • Keep your feet and hands dry. Dry skin and nails are less likely to become infected. Apply powder to your dry feet or hands after you take a shower or bath.
  • Wear socks. If they get damp, change them to keep your feet dry.
  • Wear sandals or dry roomy shoes made of materials that allow moisture to escape.
  • Wear shower sandals or shower shoes when using a public pool or shower. Let them dry between uses.
  • Don't share shoes, socks, nail clippers, or nail files with others.
  • Avoid injuring your nail. Cutting nails too short is a common cause of nail injury. If you decide to get artificial nails or have a manicure, go to a salon that uses sterile instruments. Nail manicure and certain nail products can damage the nail or cuticle, making the nail more susceptible to infection.

If you have diabetes, take special care of your feet to prevent nail infections. And if you smoke, try quitting.

Home Treatment

If you have a mild fungal nail infection or are concerned about the risks of taking antifungal pills, try an antifungal medicine you put directly on your skin (topical medicine).

Some people find that tea tree oil or cream works well for treating and preventing athlete's foot and mild fungal nail infections.3 Some people have found a Vicks VapoRub to be useful for treating fungal nail infections.4

After an infection has cleared up, take steps to prevent it from coming back.

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