Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that produces an itchy red rash in the spaces between your toes and can lead to the skin in the area to become flaky, scaly and dry. Anybody can get athletes foot, but it is more common in teenagers and adult males, and less common in women and children under the age of 12.
Harmless bacteria and fungi live naturally on the skin, and when these multiply that is when your skin can become infected. Your feet provide a warm, dark, humid environment which are ideal conditions for the fungi to grow. Athlete’s foot spreads very easily and can be passed from person to person via contaminated towels, surfaces and clothes. Wearing tight fitting trainers during sport and exercise can also make your feet warmer and moister than usual, which provides an ideal environment for the fungi to multiply.
With effective treatment, athlete’s foot only lasts for a couple of days and can usually be treated at home without having to see a GP. Antifungal medication clears the fungi that cause the infection and is available as creams, liquids, sprays, powders and tablets. If the infection isn’t treated then it can spread to your toenails, causing a fungal nail infection which can be harder to treat and clear away. It’s not always possible to prevent athlete’s foot, but good foot hygiene can reduce the risk of developing the infection. Here is some advice to help self-treat and prevent athlete’s foot:
- Wash your feet regularly using soap and water
- After washing, dry your feet, especially between the toes
- Wear clean cotton socks
- Change your shoes and socks regularly to help keep your feet dry, particularly after exercising
- Don’t share towels and wash your towels regularly
Once again, if you visit your local pharmacy they will be happy to help support you in treating this and any other minor ailment.
TNT Health Ade Titiloye