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Foot and nail care specialists spend a great portion of their day using nail drills to reduce nail thickness and smooth foot calluses. This process generates a large amount of dust, some of which is small enough to breathe in and deposit into the deepest regions of the respiratory tract, potentially causing health problems. Foot and nail dust often contains fungi, from both fungus-infected and healthy-appearing nails. Although the majority of healthy individuals can tolerate inhaled fungi, the immune systems of older, immunocompromised, and allergy-prone individuals often react using the inflammatory T helper cell type 2 pathway, leading to mucus overproduction, bronchoconstriction, and, in severe cases, lung tissue damage. To protect vulnerable podiatry professionals, wearing a surgical mask, using a water spray suppression system on nail drills, installing air filtration systems, and considering drilling technique can help reduce exposure to nail dust.
Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Mediprobe Research Inc, London, Ontario, Canada.