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Fungal Nail Infection in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Your child can get a fungal nail infection if a fungus attacks a fingernail or toenail. Or the fungus may attack the skin under a nail (nail bed).

This kind of infection may come from walking barefoot in public showers or pools. Or it can happen if your child shares personal things, such as towels and nail clippers.

If your child is healthy, this type of infection probably won't cause serious problems. But it may look bad, hurt, or damage your child's nail or nail bed. The fungus could also spread to other nails or your child's skin.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Before bed, wash and dry your child's feet or hands well. If the doctor has said to use a topical antifungal medicine, put this medicine directly on your child's skin or nail.
  • Keep your child's feet and hands dry. Dry skin and nails are less likely to get infected. Put powder on dry feet or hands after a shower or bath.
  • Have your child wear dry cotton socks. Change them 2 or 3 times a day if needed.
  • Have your child wear sandals or dry roomy shoes made of materials that allow moisture to escape. Avoid tight shoes.
  • Have your child wear shower sandals or shoes at a public pool or shower. Let them dry between uses.
  • Don't let your child share shoes, socks, nail clippers, or nail files with others.
  • Help your child avoid nail injury. For example, don't cut the nails too short.
  • If you let your child get artificial nails or have a manicure, go to a salon that uses sterile instruments.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of a bacterial infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.