Is it safe to swim in a swimming pool if you’ve got a toenail fungus infection?

Nail fungus infections (also known as Onychomycosis) are caused by microscopic fungal organisms (dermatophytes, yeasts and molds) that feed off the keratin protein in the nail.

The fungal infection results in a yellow discoloration and thickening of the nail, with debris (or crumbs) flaking off under the nail. In early stages the condition is typically painless. But in later stages of the disease fungal nails can become painful if the nail thickens considerably or begins to separate from the nail bed.

The condition is very common. In fact, experts estimate that as many as 10% of the total adult population is infected at any one time. The infection is more common in toenails than fingernails.

toe-nail-fungus-and-swimming-poolsSo, if you’ve got toe nail fungus, is it safe to go swimming or can you pass the infection to others?

The short answer to the question is, yes, you can swim in a swimming pool, as long as the water has been property chlorinated. The chlorine compounds used in swimming pools have disinfectant properties that keep the pool clean, sanitary and free of the causative pathogens of Onychomycosis.

But although you can’t transmit the infection through the pool water, you have to take care when walking around the sides of the pool and in communal areas such as showers, locker rooms and changing rooms. Infections are passed through direct contact and these public areas often have the warm, moist conditions in which the fungi that cause nail infections can thrive.

fungus-of-the-toenails-and-swimmingNever walk barefoot in these environments. Instead make sure you put on sandals or flip flops. For extra protection, you can wear neoprene slip-on foot covers. These will cover up the toenail fungus completely, reducing any chance of transmission. They’ll also help avoid embarrassment if your toenails are disfigured (and stop you slipping on wet surfaces).

If you’ve got a nail fungus infection we encourage you to read our reviews of the various toenail fungus treatment choices available to cure the disease, toenail fungus home remedies and information on living with toenail fungus and preventing cross-infections.

Nail fungus is not a trivial, cosmetic condition. It is a progressive disorder that, if left untreated, can result in the loss or disfigurement of the nail, reduced mobility and even serve as a reservoir for infections elsewhere in the body. And given the infectious nature of the disorder, the public health considerations of non-treatment should not be dismissed.  The upshot: Start your treatment as soon as possible and get rid of those ugly yellow toenails for good.

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