Athletes foot does not as its name suggests affect only athletes. It is a fungus infection that develops just below the skin and predominately occurs between the toes. If athletes foot remains untreated the infection can spread to the soles of the feet, the toenails and even to other parts of the body through contaminated bed sheets, scratching and clothes.
Athletes foot can be recognised by an initial scaling of the skin between the toes, this skin then becomes moist or soggy. The skin may then flake and peel and small blisters may appear. The new skin underneath infected areas may look red, sore and inflamed. Itching and burning may increase as the infection spreads.
Fungi thrives in damp, warm environments so areas around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms, are breeding grounds for athletes foot. Not changing your socks on a regularly basis can also lead to this condition and people who suffer from sweaty feet are particularly prone.
Anti-fungal powders, creams and sprays are all available over the counter to help treat athletes foot. However, much can be done to prevent the infection
developing in the first place. Daily washing of the feet, drying the feet carefully, changing socks and shoes regularly to decrease moisture, avoid walking barefoot, reducing perspiration by using talcum powder and wearing cotton socks which absorb moisture. If the infection does not respond to proper foot hygiene and self care antibiotics may need to be prescribed.
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