Winter can be a critical time for fungal toenails because people tend to wear closed-toe shoes and boots, creating a warm and damp environment ideal for fungal growth. Following the article “Winter: A critical time for fungal toenails”, it was published on June 16, 2020 from Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates restates the question why are fungal toenails infection so common in winter time. The answer is
The fungi that cause you to contract this condition love things that are wet—particularly skin, nails, and shoes. A little heat is a big plus, too.
That’s a constant problem in wintertime, for reasons you can probably see. If you’re constantly trudging through snow and slush in shoes that aren’t the most waterproof, chances are your feet and your shoes are going to get wet.
But even fully waterproof boots can get damp on the inside due to retained heat and sweat, especially if you wear them all day long. Plus, wearing constricting footwear all day can lead to minor irritations, injuries, and trauma to the nails—not necessarily enough that you notice it, but enough for an enterprising colony of fungi to get underneath and establish a new home.
Wet skin also makes it easier for an existing skin infection, such as athlete’s foot, to spread down to the toes. (That’s right; the exact same kinds of fungi that cause athlete’s foot, as well as jock itch and ringworm, also cause fungal toenails.)
Additionally, during winter, feet are often kept warm and moist inside socks and shoes, providing a perfect breeding ground for fungi.
The lack of ventilation and increased sweating can contribute to the proliferation of fungal infections. Moreover, the decreased sunlight exposure in winter reduces the natural antifungal properties of sunlight, making it harder for people to naturally combat fungal growth on their toenails.
Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of contracting fungal toenails this winter:
Change socks and shoes throughout the day as necessary if they become wet.
Treat your shoes with antifungal powders or sprays, or other disinfectants.
Give your shoes at least a day to fully dry out before you wear them again. (You’ll need to rotate pairs to achieve this.)
Wash your hands and feet at least once per day. Moisturize your skin and nails afterward.
Therefore, it’s essential to maintain good foot hygiene, keep feet dry, and change socks regularly, especially during the winter months. Proper ventilation for shoes and the use of antifungal cream/gel can also prevent fungal toenail infections during this critical time. If someone suspects they have a fungal toenail infections, it’s advisable to seek medical advice for appropriate diagnosis and treatment, as early intervention can prevent the condition from worsening.