Nail fungus is contagious and can easily spread throughout the body of an infected person and from person to person, states WebMD. Typically, nail fungus spreads when a person comes in contact with objects with dermatophytes on it, the most common fungus that grows on the skin, hair and nails.
Almost all fungal toenail infections are caused by dermatophytes, and individuals can get infected when they come in contact with an object that has the fungus on it already, explains WebMD. This includes clothing, shoes, nail clippers and files, carpet and other flooring. Two of the most common ways to get this toenail fungus is when athletes come in contact with toenail fungus in the showers or locker rooms or when individuals get manicures and pedicures at facilities with poorly sanitized tools.
As soon as a person comes in contact with the fungus, it can begin to grow on or under the nail, as fungus grows best in warm, moist conditions, notes WebMD. Not all people automatically get the infection after contact, as some are more susceptible to fungal infections than other.
Common signs of an infection include yellow streaks on the nail bed; a buildup of debris under the nail; brittle, broken and thickened nails; or discolored nails, according to WebMD. Other fungal infections can present with additional symptoms, such as white spots on the nail surface or damaged, crumbly and brown nail surfaces.