“Dr Irena’s” Health Tips – No. 16
Irena Hulson is continuing with her series of health tips, which have been very well received by our readers, especially those who can relate to certain of the topics covered and we hope to receive and publish more in the future for your information. If there is a particular topic you would like to see published please let us know and we will ask Irena to see what she can find on the subject.
To see more “Dr Irena” Health Tips, please visit our Portfolio site by clicking here.
By Irena Hulson
Athlete’s foot is a very common skin condition that affects the sole of the foot and the skin between the toes. It is usually a scaly, red, itchy eruption and occasionally may be weepy and oozing. It affects the feet of athletes and the non-athletic alike. Although it is frequently caused by a fungal infection, other causes may be indistinguishable without proper testing.
The medical name for athlete’s foot caused by a fungus is Tinea Pedis. There is a variety of fungi that cause athlete’s foot, and these can be contracted in many locations, including gyms, locker rooms, swimming pools, nail salons, and from contaminated socks and clothing. The fungi can also be spread directly from person to person by contact. Most people acquire fungus on the feet from walking barefoot in areas where someone else with athlete’s foot has walked. Some people are simply more prone to this condition while others seem relatively resistant to it. Another colourful name for this condition is “jungle rot,” often used by members of the armed services serving in tropical climates.
Without the proper environment (warmth and moisture), the fungus may not easily infect the skin. Up to 70% of the population may develop athlete’s foot at some time. An infection by athlete’s foot fungi does not confer any resistance to subsequent infections.
The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can be found on floors and clothing, and the organisms require a warm, dark, and humid environment in order to grow. The infection spreads by direct contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. As the infection spreads, it may affect the soles of the feet or the toenails.
Athlete’s foot is a common skin infection of the webs of the toes and soles of the feet.
When caused by a fungus, athlete’s foot may spread to the palms, groin, and body.
Athlete’s foot may cause foot burning, pain, and scaling and itching.
A fungus causes athlete’s foot; it can be treated with antifungal medications, many of which are available over the counter.
Keeping the feet dry by using cotton socks and breathable shoes can help prevent athlete’s foot.
Multiple home remedies are available, including vinegar soaks, dilute Clorox soaks, and shampoos like Head & Shoulders or Selsun Blue. Other reported but unverified remedies have included Vicks Vapor Rub and Epsom salts.
- Dilute vinegar soaks or sprays (roughly one part white household vinegar to four parts water)
- Dilute Clorox baths or soaks (approximately ¼ cup household Clorox bleach in one bathtub of water)
- Crushed garlic used as a paste is also known to help
- Otherwise you can use a general prescriptive medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
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