Fungal Lung: The Risk of Fungal Exposure to Nail Care Professionals

Foot and nail care specialists spend a great portion of their day using nail drills to reduce nail thickness and smooth foot callouses. 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 contain fungi, from both fungally-infected and healthy-looking nails. While the majority of healthy individuals can tolerate inhaled fungi, the immune systems of older, immunocompromised, and allergy-prone individuals often react using the inflammatory TH2 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 the exposure to nail dust.

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