Pedicure Dangers

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Nothing spells relaxation like a pedicure but nail therapist Kate Eakman says making sure the foot spas are properly sanitized is her top priority...

"We thoroughly clean all of our instruments--we use cavacide--which is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-virus. We spray everything down with that, we purge the system every day--flush out all the water and dead skin cells that may be in there," says Eakman.

Unfortunately, not all salons are as conscientious and when the foot spas aren't properly cleaned you're basically bathing with everyone who's sat there before you and the result - serious infections.

"The two things we're most concerned about are bacterial infections and fungal infections. Bacterial infections are acute infections that usually come and go wit treatment of antibiotics. But fungal infections get into the nail and can last for years or a lifetime," says Dr. David Stern with Physicians Immediate Care.

A bacterial infection is typically characterized by a red, swollen toe... One of the most serious mycobacterium infections--called fortitum--can cause boils on the legs...but Dr. David Stern with physicians immediate care says the fungal infections are the most severe...

"Fungi--when they actually get into the nail they grow and multiply and can increase the thickness of the nail, so the nail can be a 1/2 inch thick. It's very ugly, it can cause a lot of foot problems, especially in diabetics--lead to infections and even amputations of the toes."

So what should we do to make sure we don't become a victim of infection?

"You can ask them what they use to clean their tubs--and ask them to show you," says Eakman.

Dr. Stern says the most important step is soaking the basin with water and disinfectant. Eakman soaks the spa for at least 15 minutes after every pedicure...

"You really have to get the tubes soaked and there are areas inside a whirlpool you aren't going to get into and actually physically scrub," says Stern.

Stern says if you don't see a salon following these steps take this advice and walk out.