Fungus Spores and Nail Fungus
What is the connection between fungal spores and nail fungus? Actively growing fungi will eventually produce spores, small reproductive stages that shed from the plant and spread to new places in air currents, in water, and in moving living things. Most people have seen mushroom spores – you may have seen a dusty green powder inside a loaf of bread bag that has become moldy, or you mushroom spores have noticed that portobello mushrooms leave a black coating on your cutting board. These substances are actually a large number of spores (a single spore is microscopic, so you can’t see it – by the time they become visible, there are millions).
It is important to understand that most fungi produce spores of one finding or another: infectious fungal spores, that is, those that can cause infection in people, only come from a few species. The spores of the Portobello fungus and those of most other environmental species will not harm you (although it is probably not a good idea to casually inhale spores of any fungus, for a number of reasons). There is only a connection between fungal spores and nail fungus infection when the spores come from one of the fungi that can grow on keratin, the protein that is common in nails, hair, and skin.
Infectious fungal spores are produced by fungi that grow on infected toenails and fingernails. They are dispersed in the environment when pieces of nail and skin are detached, in nail clippers and instruments used to trim and file nails, in nail clippings, in shoes and socks, in water and when the affected person walks barefoot. When you realize that a small colony of fungi can produce millions of spores, it is easier to understand how the infection can easily spread from nail to nail, on shared clothing and grooming tools, and in public swimming areas. . An infection produces fungal spores and is spread by nail fungus. Most cases of nail fungal infection are caused by a few species of dermatophytes, fungi that are adapted to use keratin as a source of nutrients. They are transmitted from person to person and from animal to person via fungal spores and fungal nail infection is not the only problem they cause: skin and hair infections are usually caused by the same species. Some environmental fungi, that is, species that normally live in nature, that obtain nutrients from decomposing organic material, can also produce infectious fungal spores that can grow on the nails, but not on the skin or hair. Fortunately, the species involved in a particular infection generally don’t matter when it comes to treating onychomycosis.