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How to keep feet healthy during pedicure season

| Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

It's sandal season, which means that nail salons are busy clipping, buffing and polishing toes galore. Tending those colorful toes, though, poses some health risks that should be considered, doctors say.

Fungus, viruses and bacterial infections are a few of the health risks. And, even the most skilled pedicurist will occasionally slip and cut the skin

Podiatrists have these tips for preserving foot health during pedicure season:

• The gold standard is to clean metal tools in an autoclave, a machine that sterilizes instruments using high-pressure, high-temperature steam. Cleaning tools in liquid disinfectant can kill most germs and viruses if they soak for at least 10 minutes, but that won't guarantee sterility. Or, you can buy and bring to the salon your own pedicure kit.

• Ask how instruments are sterilized at your salon. An autoclave is unquestionably the safest method. Tools that are cleaned with a liquid disinfectant need to soak for at least 10 minutes to eliminate most bacteria and viruses.

• If you can, opt for a salon that uses glass or metal foot-bath bowls, because they are the easiest for pedicurists to keep clean.

• Consider bringing your own instruments to your nail salon.

• Because nail polish used on multiple people can harbor bacteria and fungus, consider bringing your own polish for the pedicurist to apply. If you have health issues such as diabetes, poor circulation or an autoimmune deficiency, have your feet tended by a podiatrist. Use the salon for nail painting only.

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