Nail salons under fire over rise in infections

According to the Australian Podiatry Association (APA), podiatrists are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of patients with fungal and bacterial infections, and they believe these have been caused by unhygienic conditions at nail salons.

Joe Brooks, a podiatrist and director of the APA, told ABC Radio that he and his peers are alarmed by the increasing number of patients whose conditions appeared to have been created at nail bars.

“It’s fair to say we are concerned with the hygiene practices at play at these nail salons,” said Mr Brooks. “That would definitely increase the risk of bacterial infections and also fungal nail.”

Mr Brooks confirmed that he had personally had patients who had undergone incorrect treatments at nail bars, or whose nail health had deteriorated since their nail-bar visit.

The APA said in a statement: “A number of podiatrists have reported that they have treated conditions caused por exacerbated by inappropriate involvement by nail salon attendants.”

According to Mr Brooks, while podiatrists are regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and largely adhere to the same infection-control guidelines as doctors, nail bars aren’t held to the same standard.

“These nail bars don’t have to meet these regulations and obviously that means they can keep their prices lower, but those low prices may come at a cost of other things.”

There are ways to reduce the risk associated with infections at your salon, including:

  • Refuse to treat clients that present with open wounds or scabs on their hands or feet
  • Ensure all tools being used are stainless steel and are sterilised before every use
  • Use fresh water for every client, and clean out the tub with an antibacterial spray or wipe after each client
  • Have all therapists wear gloves 

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