Athlete's Foot Treatment
If you’re an active person who spends a lot of time on your feet and inside of your shoes you may have had the experience of dealing with athlete’s foot. What most people refer to as athlete's foot is actually a fungal infection known as tinea pedis. Unfortunately, this infection is contagious and can be spread by sharing a shower space with an infected individual, sharing towels, or sharing clothing items such as socks or shoes. When using a public shower at a gym or in a dormitory, it is smart to use a pair of shower shoes to keep your feet off of the floor. You never know if the person before you was suffering from athlete’s foot and contaminated the stall.
In our environment, many fungi and bacteria live on the surfaces we come in contact with on a regular basis. Given the right conditions, these organisms can thrive and become a health issue. For tinea pedis, damp socks, sweaty shoes, and warm moisture help the fungus grow and spread. If you tend to have sweaty feet and do not take measures to wick the moisture away from your skin, you may be creating the perfect conditions for athlete’s foot.
• A scaly, red rash near or between the toes
• Itching, especially after removing shoes
• Dryness or the appearance of dry skin
• The spread of the rash to the other foot or the hands
The good news is that, while athlete’s foot may be irritating and painful, it is easily treated with over-the-counter medications. Antifungal creams and powders are commonly available in pharmacies. If the infection does not appear to clear after applying the over-the-counter medications according to the directions, it may be time to see a doctor. A doctor may decide to prescribe stronger, prescription medications such as an oral antifungal pill.
As with any infection, prevention is key. It is important to keep your feet clean and dry. This may mean paying attention to the material that your socks are made of. Wool socks are wonderful at keeping moisture under control. Tight fitting shoes can also be an issue so make sure that your shoes have enough room for comfort. If your athlete’s foot recurs multiple times, a trip to the doctor can help you take measures to stop the cycle.