Athlete's foot is a common form of fungal infection that is typically seen between the toes. In addition to minimizing the chance of infection and avoiding cross-contamination, treating the infection promptly can prevent significant irritation.
Fungus thrives in moist environments, so having moist feet, especially between the toes, can make you susceptible to developing athlete's foot. The two major issues with foot moisture come from not drying your feet properly after bathing and sweaty feet. After you finish bathing, use a separate towel to dry your feet, paying special attention to between your toes. If you need to speed up the process, use a hairdryer on your feet before wearing socks. People with sweaty feet should take extra precautions to keep their feet dry, such as using retail foot powder that absorbs moisture and changing your socks often throughout the day.
If you have symptoms of athlete's foot, you should be mindful of avoiding cross-contamination while you attempt to clear up the infection and after the infection is gone. Having a separate washcloth and towel just for your feet can minimize the chance of transferring foot fungus elsewhere on the body. Additionally, washing your washcloth and towel frequently will minimize the chance of re-infection after the athlete's foot has cleared. Other areas that should concern you are socks and shoes, with shoes being more challenging to disinfect. You will want to wash your shoes whenever possible and allow them to dry before wearing them again. Spraying the inside of your shoes with a disinfecting spray can reduce the chance of fungus living inside your shoes.
Seek Appropriate Treatment
Although there are retail treatments available for athlete's foot, it does not mean treating the problem yourself is the right choice. Since symptoms from different types of infections can be similar, it is best to speak with your podiatrist to determine if your symptoms are truly athlete's foot and not a bacterial infection. Sometimes infections can be caused by both bacteria and fungus simultaneously, and multiple treatments are needed. Your podiatrist will likely prescribe a spray to treat athlete's foot, which is better than ointments because the spray can help keep your feet dry, whereas ointments add moisture.
Since athlete's foot is a common infection, it is easy to acquire if you do not keep your feet dry. Maintaining good foot hygiene and reducing the chance of re-infection will make it easier to treat athlete's foot the first time. Speak with a podiatrist to learn more.