Long nails have always been associated with femininity and beauty, but they can be an open invitation to diseases and other health problems if not maintained properly.

A recent study conducted by the Infectious Disease Society of America revealed that nails that are longer than three millimetres beyond the tip of the finger carry harmful bacteria and yeast under them. The study also suggested that most people do not wash their hands well enough to get rid of all the germs under their nails. According to Dr. Carol A. Kauffman, co-author of the study, people should spend at least 15 seconds washing their hands and clean underneath their nails to get rid of the unseen germs.

Your hands come in contact with hundreds of objects every day, and you use them for activities like cooking and eating. Long nails have the potential to cause a number of health problems since they are a perfect place for germs and dirt to stay. Health experts agree that nails should be trimmed short and kept clean.

Many women prefer to keep their nails long either by growing them naturally or by wearing artificial enhancements. It is important to be informed about the potential risks that are associated with long nails and take adequate precautions to ensure that you are taking good care of your nails.

Here are some of the reasons why long nails are bad for health:

• You could injure yourself when your nails get caught in zippers, windows, or other such objects.

• You could strain your fingers when you type with longer fingernails. Typing texts in your phone also takes longer.

• Artificial nails are prone to infection if worn too long.

• Using your hands to eat food when you have long nails can allow bacteria and other infectious agents to enter your system.

• You have to constantly worry about maintaining your nails.

• You can avoid accidently hurting yourself with your nails or scratching your skin.

• It is difficult for you to get a grip on anything. You end up dropping a lot things in an effort to not break your nails.

How to maintain long nails?

If you must have long nails, it is important that you keep them healthy. Here are some tips to help you maintain your nails:

• Don’t use your nails to open objects that can scrape off a part of your nail, making it sharp and dangerous.

• Make sure you wear gloves while cooking, cleaning and washing to prevent germs from collecting under your fingernails.

• Avoid biting your nails, since it is a bad habit that allows germs to enter your body.

• Clean your nail beds and cuticles often and use sanitiser regularly.

• Eat a nutritious diet that includes calcium, proteins and vitamins, in order to keep your nails healthy.

• Drink more water in order to keep your nails hydrated.