Athlete’s Foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet causing redness, scaling, itching and flaking; in severe cases there could be swelling as well. In spite of its name, the infection could spread to other parts of the body that are warm and moist. In very rare cases, athlete’s foot could even lead to amputation. The good news however is that it is possible to prevent this condition from occurring.
We look at ways to prevent athlete’s foot as well as some home remedies that work:
Preventing athlete’s foot
The condition is persistent and is known to recur even after a course of antibiotics. This is why prevention is best. Athlete’s food is practically nonexistent in barefoot cultures. This is because the fungus grows only in moist and warm conditions, in environments such as an enclosed shoe. The infection is transmitted in places such as shared showers or baths and similar communal places. Even an infected towel could pass on the infection.
The best way to avoid the infection is to keep the feet dry, open and well ventilated to the extent possible. If you have to keep your feet in socks and shoes for significant periods of a day, ensure that you also go barefoot for several hours a day to give your feet the chance to breathe and remain dry. If you have been in a communal shower or bath, follow this by leaving your feet bare if possible.
Wear cotton socks and soak up moisture and regularly wash socks in hot water so they don’t retain the infection. Wear breathable shoes and try to keep feet as dry and clean as possible. Also do not share items such as napkins, towels, socks and shoes.
Home remedies for athletes foot
It is important not to self medicate – in particular you should never use antibiotics unless they are prescribed to you. This is because antibiotics may also kill off beneficial bacteria that help in fighting infections.
Over the counter anti fungal powder can keep the infection in control and will help keep the skin of the feet dry as well.
Foot soaks made from diluted vinegar (1 part vinegar mixed in 4 parts of water) can help keep the fungus in control. Food soaks made from Clorox bleach are also seen to be effective in fighting athlete’s foot.
Natural home remedies such as tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are also thought to have natural antifungal properties and may help.