In the medical world, athletes foot is most commonly known as tinea pedis. The layman, however, isn’t so used to this term. To understand it better, a definition has to be given. So what then is athlete’s foot?
A contagious disease it is, athletes foot is a medical condition that affects the skin of the feet of a human being. Being contagious, it could go on to also affect the hands and the toenails as well. It was given the name because it is a disease that majorly affects athletes.
The good thing about athletes foot is that it’s not a serious or a health-threatening disease although it could be very hard to cure at times. For patients already suffering from any other serious disease such as diabetes or with a weakened immune system, it would be wise to consult a doctor.
Causes of Athletes Foot
There are several factors that can cause athletes foot. One major cause is keeping wet feet. Once your feet is wet almost all the time, you’re most likely to suffer from the disease.
A second reason is wearing shoes that cause your feet to get hot, and then become sweaty. As the sweat accumulates and continues to stay on your feet for longer periods, the chances of you getting athletes foot becomes higher.
A third reason is walking around with bare feet in places where the disease can most likely be spread. Places such as communal bathrooms, gyms, and locker rooms are hot zones for the spread of athletes foot.
Sharing clothing materials or toiletries such as towels, shoes, socks or slippers is also a medium by which this disease can be spread.
With a weakened immune system or severe disease conditions such as diabetes or cancer, the likelihood of you getting infected with athletes foot becomes higher. If you are caught up in this scenario, you may need to visit your doctor and also practice stringent hygiene measures.
What are the signs of athletes foot?
The signs and symptoms that accompany this disease are quite visible to the eyes and can be easily identified. Thus, treatment can be begun once these signs have been noticed. The first major symptom of an athletes foot is that skin surrounding the feet becomes dry, and more than never, its color changes to red. The skin could also become scaly and flaky.
Especially when it occurs on the skin between the toes of the feet, the affected area becomes white, cracked and soggy. Also, it begins to itch the infected individual, thus causing them to scratch it.
When it is scratched, it becomes easily transferable to other parts of the body thus making the infection to spread. A severe case of the infection can lead to an outbreak of a bacterial infection. Where the situation is allowed to degenerate into a bacterial infection, more severe complications could arise. This might include pus or fever.
Where this continues, it could spread to the lymph system. Lymphangitis which is the infection of the lymph vessels could occur as a result of a skin infection. The infection of the lymph nodes commonly known in the medical world as lymphadenitis can occur as well.
Reducing the risk of getting infected
Athletes foot is an infection which can be easily prevented if the right hygiene measures are put in place. There are various ways by which the infection can be totally prevented. Some of these include:
1. Since athletes foot is caused by wet feet, endeavor to wash your feet thoroughly, before drying it meticulously with a dry towel. Make sure to reach the skin in between the toes of the feet.
2. Continuous wearing of shoes and stockings can lead to an outbreak of this infection. Thus, ensure to change both periodically, or if possible, on a daily basis.
3. When you pay a visit to public places such as the gym, the public locker room or shower, avoid walking around bare footed. Buy a personal slipper which you can make use of in such places.
4. If you are the type that sweats a lot especially on the feet, you could be prone to athletes foot. Thus, it would be necessary to avoid staying long periods in shoes. Also, make use of talcum powders on your feet and avoid using moisturizers as they could make you sweat more.
5. Wash your towels on a frequent basis, and when you go to public places, go with your towel so as to avoid having to borrow from others.
Keeping to these simple personal hygiene steps can help you totally avoid having to deal with athletes foot.
Treating Athletes Foot
Luckily, athletes foot is not a life threatening disease. It can be prevented as well as cured & treating athletes foot is both easy and effective. So if you are plagued with athletes foot, there are several anti-fungal treatments sold in pharmacies that can be applied to provide a lasting solution to it. You may have to check with your local pharmacy for a good product.
Before applying these treatments, it is necessary to wash the affected areas methodically with clean water. Afterward, apply the treatment to all affected areas and the skin surrounding them. This is necessary so as to checkmate its spread. When done, wash your hands thoroughly as well so as to ensure it does not spread.
In choosing treatments to use, seek the advice of a pharmacist as some of these treatments are not recommended for pregnant women, lactating or nursing mothers. Treatments could come in form of creams, powders, sprays, tablets or liquids.
Even after the rashes have cleared, it is necessary that you keep on with the treatment for at least a week so as to ensure that the fungus is all eliminated. There could be some mild complications arising as a result of allergies and could result in blisters both on the feet, the soles of the feet and the hands as well.
Athletes foot is caused by a number of factors which luckily enough, can be easily avoided. The infection can also cause low self-esteem amongst youths and even older people. Treatment, however, is usually easy and affordable.