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Can working on an infected nail be harmful to me?

November 03, 2012 | Bookmark +

I am taking medications that affect my immune system. Can working on an infected nail release spores or other infectious material that could be inhaled to cause problems for later?


Although rare, yes, potentially infectious spores may be released while filing on an active infection and these may be inhaled by the nail tech and could result in a lung infection. This is only one of the many reasons for not working on infected fingers, toes, or feet and why it is so important to get a written release from the client’s doctor stating the condition is not infectious before providing services to the affected area.

Believe it or not, clients will tell you they’ve seen a doctor when they haven’t and will swear the doctor said, “it’s nothing.” Their word is not a medical release and this will not protect you, other clients, or the salon. The doctor’s release must be in writing and must clearly state that the condition is not contagious and that a pedicure or manicure can be safely performed. Otherwise, you should refuse to provide the service for the good of all concerned.

— Doug Schoon is chief scientific advisor for CND. You can find more nail-related info at

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What’s the cause of the pinkish-red oval area on the pad of my client’s toes?

I have a client who has a recurring problem with her fourth toes during the winter months. Both of her “ring finger” toes develop a pinkish-red oval area on the pad. Then a month later, when I see her again, the skin has become dry and hard like a callus, with the layers of skin peeling away to reveal a deeper, dark epicenter.  It’s extremely painful for her and, needless to say, we do not touch it. But it clears up in the summer when she’s wearing open-toed sandals, so I suspect it has to be due to the boots she wears in the winter. Plus she never puts lotion on her feet or uses a foot file in between visits. What do you think causes this?

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What are the big white spots on my natural-nail client’s nails?

I have a client who has been with me for about two years. She used to wear acrylic nails but has been a natural nail client for eight months or so. She has these white spots on her nails — big spots that are dry, but not flaky, right in the middle of the nail. I did try to buff them lightly but they do not come off or grow off. I had a new client come in last week who had the same on her toenails. She said it started after she had a pedicure done at another salon. Can you help?

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