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Toenail Fungus in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A toenail that is infected by a fungus usually turns white or yellow. As the fungus spreads, the nail turns a darker colour and gets thicker, and its edges start to turn ragged and crumble. A bad infection can cause toe pain, and the nail may pull away from the toe.

Toenails that are exposed to moisture and warmth a lot are more likely to get infected by a fungus. This can happen from wearing sweaty shoes often and from walking barefoot on shower floors.

It is hard to treat toenail fungus, and the infection can return after it has cleared up. But medicines can sometimes get rid of toenail fungus for good. If the infection is very bad, or if it causes a lot of pain, your child may need to have the nail removed.

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?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • If your doctor gave your child a cream or liquid to put on the toenail, use it exactly as directed.
  • Make sure your child washes his or her feet and hands often.
  • Keep your child's toenails clean and dry. Have your child dry his or her feet completely after a bath and before putting on shoes and socks.
  • Keep your child's toenails trimmed.
  • Have your child change socks often and wear dry socks that absorb moisture.
  • Do not let your child go barefoot in public places.
  • Use a spray or powder that fights fungus on your child's feet and in your child's shoes.
  • Do not let your child pick at the skin around the toenails.
  • Do not let your child use nail polish or fake nails on the toenails.

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 infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the site.
    • Pus draining from the site.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has new or increased toe pain.

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?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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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.