Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection. The fungus lives on the skin and breeds under warm, moist conditions. Athlete’s foot is more common during hot weather and sweaty footwear is usually the culprit. Adult males suffer most often from this condition.
SIGNS OF ATHLETE’S FOOT
- cracked and peeling areas between the toes
- redness and scaling on the soles of the feet
- intense itching
- small blisters that ooze clear fluid
- burning sensation
HOW TO SOOTHE THE DISCOMFORT
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Wash and thoroughly dry the affected area twice each day. Use a cool compress to stop the inflammation, ease the pain and lessen itching.
- Soak your feet in a saltwater bath (two teaspoons of salt to one pint of water) five to 10 minutes, twice a day.
- Apply a paste of baking soda and water in between your toes and to the soles of your feet. After 10 minutes, rinse and dry your feet thoroughly. Next, dust your feet with cornstarch or talcum powder.
- Medicate your feet with an over-the-counter antifungal medication two or three times a day. Continue to apply the medication up to two weeks after the infection has disappeared. If the infection doesn’t clear up after self treatment see your doctor.
HOW TO PREVENT THE REOCCURRENCE OF ATHLETE’S FOOT
- Wear leather shoes and sandals so your feet can “breathe”. Avoid plastic shoes and materials that have to be treated to keep water out. They trap perspiration and create a warm, moist place for fungus to grow.
- Wear cotton socks and change them twice a day to keep feet dry.
- Alternate between two pairs of shoes, giving each 24 hours to dry out between uses.
- Wear sandals or beach slippers in public places such as swimming pool showers and gym locker rooms.
- Clean your toenails. Toenails are breeding spots for the athlete’s foot fungus. Scrape the undersides of your toenails clean at least every two to three days. Use an orange stick, toothpick or wooden match. Avoid using a metal file. The metal could scratch the nail providing niches for the fungus to collect and breed.
- Regularly use an anti-fungal powder on your feet and in your shoes.