The toenails of the average Australian man are about the size of a football pitch.
But they’re also one of the most common infections around the country.
The reason is simple: most of us have become infected by a type of fungus that has mutated from a harmless one.
It’s called chytrid fungus, and the Australian Medical Association says it’s caused more than 3,500 deaths and hundreds of thousands of serious infections each year.
While the Australian Health Practitioners Commission is looking at ways to stop it spreading, it is also investigating what’s causing it to mutate, and whether to include it in the current code of practice.
The new code is to be released in mid-November.
While it’s a good idea to have a standardised approach to managing infections, experts say there are also times when a little extra attention is needed.
“When the toon is growing out of the skin, it’s actually quite difficult to keep track of that, because the fungus grows into the skin and it’s quite hard to see,” Dr Nick Hirsch says.
“It’s the same with your nail bed.
It can grow up and out and then it’s hard to get the spot to be consistent.”
The good thing about the new code of practise is that we’re not actually doing anything that would interfere with the normal course of things, and we’re just using the best practices we know.
“So the most important thing is that the toons aren’t causing any of the harm to the person, but they’re doing a lot of the damage and not being able to do anything about it.”
The new rules have been a boon to the medical profession, which is looking to reduce infections.
“We’ve had a significant reduction in the numbers of toons we have, so we’re seeing a very, very significant decrease in the number of people that we have to treat,” Dr Hirsch said.
“That’s very exciting, because we know it’s very important that we keep treating the people who are most at risk of being infected.”
Our primary concern is the person that we treat and what we can do to ensure that that person is going to have access to an appropriate treatment, which hopefully is going for as short a time as possible, as long as possible.
“For more on chytra-infection, go to ABC Health.
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