Protect Your Healthy Toes and Fingers from Cross-Contamination

Toenail fungus is not only extremely difficult to get rid of, it is also extremely easy to get. Most toenail fungus infections begin with one toenail then spread to other toenails and sometimes even to fingernails. If you think having a toenail fungal infection is bad, imagine what it would be like to have it on your hands, for everyone to see. 

To avoid the spread of toenail fungus to other toenails or to your hands, you must avoid cross-contamination. Cross contamination takes place when either your infected nails are touched by non infected nails or when the same instruments used on an infected nail are later used on a healthy nail. 

Washing your hands every time you touch your toenails will go a long way towards protecting you from cross-contamination. However, there is one culprit which you may not have thought of as being the primary source of contamination to healthy nails; your nail clipper. Whenever you clip your nails, you are cutting across their entire surface, top to bottom. If there is any fungus on that nail, some residue will stick on the cutting blade of the nail clipper. 

Then, when you clip a healthy nail, you are exposing a freshly cut nail to that very same fungus. 

If you have no nail fungus on your hands, you must use a nail clipper just for the hands. Mark it accordingly, keep it in a ziplock bag and make sure you never use it on your toes. 

If you have any healthy toenails, the same rule applies; use a nail clipper for the infected toenails and a different one for the healthy toe nails. If you don’t follow this simple advice, you are sure to make your problem worse (more infected nails) instead of better (fewer infected nails). If at any time you space out and use the clipper for infected nails on a healthy nail your only option is to try to disinfect the healthy nail immediately. The best way is through the use of hydrogen peroxide. Simply spray or pour hydrogen peroxide on the healthy nail and rub the edges of the nail that were cut by the infected nail clipper. Hydrogen peroxide should be able to kill any surface fungi and it also is slightly absorbed by the freshly cut nail, thereby destroying fungi that may have already start- ed to penetrate the freshly cut nail. Obviously this process only works if performed a few minutes after cutting the nail. Below are some tips to help keep your healthy nails from becoming infected: 

Use different toenail clippers for infected versus non-infected nails Do not use the same clipper for toe nails versus hand nails Never sand the top of healthy nails with an emery board When applying antifungal cream, always apply on healthy nails first When sanding toenails, make sure the dust from infected toe nails is thoroughly rinsed from healthy nails and cuticles Disinfect nail clippers after each use (use bleach foam cleaner) Wrap used emery boards in toilet paper and place deep in garbage container 

Always wash hands carefully after working on infected toe nails. Be particularly careful to clean around cuticle areas and sides of nails.