Although a professional pedicure can be a treat, we at Texas Foot Specialists want to make sure you don’t come home with bacterial or fungal toenail infection along with pretty polished toes. Fungal nail infections are spread by direct contact with the fungi. By being observant at the salon you can get an idea if proper sanitizing procedures are in place. Here are a few things to look for:
· License—most states require reputable salons to be licensed. This certifies that they are following certain health and safety codes. The license should be prominently displayed in the salon.
· General cleanliness—work stations, the floor and restroom should all be clean. If the overall appearance of the salon is dirty or disorganized, it’s a red flag that other sanitary procedures may be being neglected as well.
· Tool sterilization—are nail clippers, cuticle trimmers, files, etc. kept in autoclave sanitizing machines or a liquid solution? The autoclave is the most effective at killing germs and bacteria but liquid sanitizers can work if tools are left in for a period of time (usually at least 10 to 15 minutes). Best of all is if the salon has tools in sealed bags and uses a new set for each client.
· Whirlpool washing—after each client, the whirlpool bath should be cleaned thoroughly.
· Hand washing—nail technicians should wash their hands before starting to work on the next client.
· Callus removal—do the nail technicians us razors to remove calluses and dead skin? This is dangerous because it is far too easy to cut the skin which then provides an easy entry point for infection-causing bacteria.
If you are in the habit of regularly getting professional pedicures you should know the signs of fungal infections:
· Yellow or discolored toenails
· Thickening of the nail
· Crumbling at the edge of the toenail
If you have symptoms of a fungal toenail, don’t just cover it up with nail polish. Fungal toenails will not go away without treatment, can spread to other nails and even your skin. Contact our Pasadena (281) 991-0600, Houston (713) 664-6677 or Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 office so that one our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Magnum or Dr. Bruce Miller can examine your nail and determine if an infection is present.