Nail fungus infection in the sauna

Nail fungi love a warm, moist environment and can therefore spread and multiply well in the sauna area. Nail fungus is caused by various pathogens, most commonly responsible for nail fungus are the dermatophytes Trichophyton rubrum as well as Trichophyton mentagrophytes. However, yeast fungi such as Candida albicans can also cause unsightly nail fungus.
Can you go to the sauna with nail fungus?

Can you go to the sauna with nail fungus?

The course of the disease is usually chronic, easily recognized by destruction of the affected nails and also by unsightly yellowish to brownish discolored areas. Sauna visitors with nail fungus should be aware of the fact that it is basically a contagious infection. This is because nail fungi form spores, which survive well even under adverse conditions and can be further spread. Therefore, there is a risk of infecting other sauna visitors with nail fungus in the sauna area.

Nail fungus is often detected late

A nail fungus infection is not rare, but a frequent diagnosis in the practice of general practitioners and dermatologists. Experts estimate that at least one in eight adults in Germany suffers from some form of nail fungus. It is therefore by no means a harmless cosmetic disorder, but a serious infection. If left untreated, nail fungus also tends to infect all toenails, even if the infection initially started on just one toenail.

Treat nail fungus early

Early treatment is therefore highly recommended. However, the nail fungus infection is not always easy to recognize, especially at the beginning. Often, the doctor is only visited when the findings are already far advanced. But even at this point, it is not too late to start a so-called antipsychotic therapy to prevent further spread.

Bathing slippers reduce the risk of spreading

If left untreated, the nail fungus infection can lead to irreversible damage to the entire nail plate, even walking in normal shoes then becomes torture for those affected. As soon as the diagnosis of nail fungus is even suspected, a visit to the sauna should initially be avoided until antifungal treatment has been consistently initiated. The toes and the whole foot are usually exposed when visiting the sauna.

Bathing shoes as protection against nail fungus and athlete’s foot

Often people enter the sauna area barefoot, but bathing shoes can reduce the risk of infection. In the sauna cabin itself, the wearing of footwear of any kind is usually not permitted anyway. So if you have a nail fungus infection and still want to go to the sauna, you should follow at least a few rules to avoid putting other sauna guests in unnecessary danger.

Foot hygiene before, during and after visiting the sauna is absolutely recommended

Very important is foot hygiene with disinfecting skin washing lotions and daily change of stockings or socks. People with nail fungus infection should always wear bath slippers in public sauna baths and disinfect them at regular intervals with an approved disinfectant. Cleaning the bath slippers several times during the sauna visit can already significantly minimize the risk of infection in this way.

Extra towel for the feet

In addition, it is of utmost importance to always use a separate, clean towel for cleaning the feet when visiting the sauna in order to prevent infection. People with nail fungus infections should also use an additional, fresh towel to clean the spaces between their toes. To avoid infecting other sauna guests, it may also be a good idea to wear socks made of breathable materials, such as light cotton, between sauna sessions.

Apply antifungal varnish in good time before a sauna visit

Damp shoes or slippers should not be stowed in the gym bag, but dried as soon as possible in a well-ventilated area. Many saunas have outdoor areas where there are appropriate inconspicuous places to dry shoes or bathing slippers, so already during the sauna visit. It can also be helpful to coat the affected areas with a fungicidal nail polish before going into the sauna.

What to watch out for

However, it is important to note that the varnish on the nails must first be completely dry before entering the sauna cabin. This antifungal varnish is otherwise applied weekly and is part of a holistic approach to curing a nail fungus infection.


Nail fungus is a contagious infection spread by spores. People with nail fungus should be aware that there is a risk that they will infect other sauna visitors. Early treatment of nail fungus is advisable to prevent further spread.

To reduce the risk of infection, sauna users with nail fungus should wear bathing shoes. Ensure good foot hygiene by using disinfectant skin wash lotions, cleaning bathing slippers with an approved disinfectant. It is also recommended that you use a separate towel for your feet and clean the spaces between your toes with a fresh towel.

Before going into the sauna, it may be helpful to apply an antifungal varnish to the affected areas. However, this should be completely dry before entering the sauna cabin. It is also advisable to wear breathable socks to minimize the risk of infecting other sauna guests.

In principle, people with nail fungus should take care not to endanger other sauna visitors unnecessarily and to take measures to prevent infection. However, a visit to the sauna should only take place once a consistent antifungal treatment has been initiated.


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