It's time to break out the sandals and head to the nail salon. Pretty polish colors paired with a relaxing hand or foot massage are a top priority for many. Here's a little advice to help you enjoy the benefits without the pain.
First, ask your manicurist to show you what methods they use to protect your health. Infections can be spread through the use of contaminated implements. Be sure your salon protects your safety by disposing of all porous implements like files and orangewood sticks. Nonporous items made of metals or plastics should be completely submerged in an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant for a minimum of 10 minutes (or longer if the manufacturer requires it).
Katrina LaLuna, owner of the Natural, Healthy, Beautiful nail salon at Sola Salon Studios in Midlothian, advises against using jetted tubs for pedicures. "They are the leading cause of the transmission of infections." LaLuna says that she uses peel-and-stick nail and foot files to prevent the spread of infections, changing the disposable plastic liners in her pedicure basin for each client.
When in doubt, check it out. If you suspect you have a nail infection, call your doctor immediately.
"Infections of the fingertip region, including the nails, are the most common hand infections. They can become quite severe if misdiagnosed," Dr. Keith A. Glowacki, a hand and elbow orthopedic surgeon with Advanced Orthopaedic Centers, writes in an email. "When the seal between the nail fold and the nail plate is disrupted, bacteria can enter, causing an infection."
Glowacki adds, "The most common is staphylococcus aureus, but other types can occur. Oral antibiotics, warm soaks and splinting treat most infections. In more severe cases, surgery for drainage of the infection is required."
If you receive services that you suspect have resulted in a nail infection, contact the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (dpor.virginia.gov) for information on how to file a complaint.
Crystal Rivenbark is a Midlothian-based stylist and cosmetology instructor.