Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Can toenail fungus spread to other body parts?"
Is it possible for toenail fungus to spread to other body parts, like your nose or groin area? The cold weather always wreaks havoc on my skin, so I'm trying tnot to worry too much, but I have that itchy, burning, flaking feeling on other parts of me, and I'm worried it's spreading from my feet.
Infection of the toenails with fungus is one of the commonest fungal infections in the body. Usually it causes thickening and distorting of the toenails, sometimes with itching and odor. The fungi that cause this infection are in fact contagious and they can spread to other parts of the body. Most commonly, they spread to other nails of the feet. This occurs because the fungi get into the socks and shoes and then contaminate other nails. Therefore, having clean shoes and changing socks frequently is an important part of treating the infection. The same fungi that cause the nail infections may also cause infection of other skin areas of the body. The other more common sites of infection include the groin (jock itch), which causes redness, odor, and itchy scaly skin. Also if you have any circular, scaly spots on the skin of your body or your head, this may be fungus. Perhaps more likely, the itching and burning feeling you have in other parts of your body might just be dry skin from the cold weather. Therefore, you should limit your use of hot showers and make sure you apply a good lotion. However, you should also see your primary care doctor, just to make sure the fungal infection has not spread and also to consider treatment for the nail infection, which almost always requires medication.
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