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Fungi Among Us: What You Need to Know About Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a common and annoying condition that affects millions of people around the world. Not just athletes, in fact, anyone can get athlete’s foot. It can be painful and irritating, and it’s important for everyone to know what it is, how to prevent it, and how to treat it if you do get it.

What is Athlete's Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection caused by a type of fungus called Trichophyton. It often lives in warm, damp environments like showers or locker rooms. These fungi can spread when someone with the infection touches surfaces or objects that are then touched by another person who doesn't have the infection. The fungi can also be spread through direct contact with an infected person.

The most common symptom of athlete's foot is a red, scaly rash on the feet or toes. Other symptoms include itching, stinging, burning, and blisters on the feet or between the toes. Toenails may become discolored or thickened due to an underlying fungal infection. In some cases, athlete's foot may lead to other skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis.

How Can I Prevent Athlete's Foot?

There are several steps you can take to prevent athlete's foot from developing in the first place:

• Wear shower shoes when using public showers/locker rooms

• Keep your feet dry – especially between your toes – by changing socks regularly and wearing breathable shoes

• Avoid walking barefoot in public areas such as pools and locker rooms

• Choose footwear made of natural materials like leather that allow your feet to breathe more easily (such as leather sandals)

• Cleanse your feet regularly with soap and water; use antifungal powders if necessary

• Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing/showering/swimming/exercising

• Disinfect any items that come into contact with your feet (like towels) regularly

• Don't share shoes with others!

• Wear clean socks every day

How Can I Treat Athlete's Foot?

If you think you have athlete's foot, there are several things you can do to treat it:

1) Use over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays

2) Take oral antifungal medications

3) Soak your affected area in diluted vinegar solution

4) Apply ice packs or cold compresses

5) Wear loose cotton socks

6) Wash sheets and clothes regularly

7) Avoid wearing tight shoes

8) Change socks every day

9) Avoid sharing towels

10) Protect yourself from re-infection by keeping your environment clean

Athlete’s foot is an incredibly common condition that affects many people around the world—not just athletes! Knowing what it is and how to prevent it is key to avoiding this pesky problem altogether. Fortunately, there are many easy steps we can take to keep our feet healthy and fungus free! Make sure you practice good hygiene habits like wearing shower shoes at all times when using public showers/locker rooms; drying off thoroughly after swimming/bathing; washing sheets/clothes often; avoiding tight fitting shoes; never sharing towels; treating any potential infections right away; etc., so that you don’t have to worry about battling this condition later down the road! Good luck!

Northeast Missouri Health Council, Partners for a lifetime of health

Medical, Dental, and Behavioral Clinics in Kirksville, Missouri, Macon, Missouri, Milan, Missouri, and Kahoka, Missouri. Visit our website to find the nearest clinic to you.



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