Although it’s rarely serious, athlete’s foot is not something any of us want to deal with. The scaling, peeling, and cracking skin not only looks undesirable with your favorite sandals, but it’s uncomfortable with its trademark burning and itching. In some cases, it can damage your skin’s protective barrier, leaving you susceptible to bacterial infections and other problems.
Don’t let this fungus invade your feet! There are some effective ways you can avoid this annoying condition and keep your feet looking and feeling great.
Be Wary of Public Places
It’s very easy to catch the fungus that causes athlete’s foot in warm, damp areas. The fungus, known as tinea pedis, loves to breed in places such as public bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. Wear flip flops or shower shoes and never go barefoot in these communal areas.
Let Your Feet Breathe
Keeping your feet dry is key to avoiding athlete’s foot. If your socks or shoes get wet from water sports or sweating, your feet become a hot spot for fungus. Instead, change into dry footwear often, don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row, and wash and dry feet thoroughly after exercise.
Unless it’s very cold outside, wear lightweight, breathable shoes and socks, and skip the heavy fabrics that can make feet sweat more.
Be Mindful of Pets
If you let your dog go into a public shower or locker room and then into your house, Fido could be bringing fungus in with him. If your pet has been in a damp public area, wash and dry his paws outside before you let him in. Otherwise, he could track the fungus in your home, where it will wait for you to pick it up on your feet.
Don’t Share Germs in Your House
If you find out someone in your household has athlete’s foot, make sure you don’t share towels, shoes, or socks with them (you shouldn’t do this anyway). Consider using a disinfectant in the shower or tub after each use.
The affected family member should use an appropriate antifungal product as directed for at least two to four weeks. A podiatrist can recommend the best treatment and ensure the infection is properly cleared. Anyone with an active athlete’s foot infection should also avoid public swimming pools, showers, and other places until their infection is gone to avoid spreading it to others.