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What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection caused by the fungus group dermatophytes. In rare cases, it can also be caused by non-dermatophytes such as yeast. Dermatophytes feed on keratin, a protein which is commonly found in skin, hair and nails. Athlete’s foot grows in closed, warm environments and is mildly contagious, often spread through direct contact. It can also transmit via skin left on towels, the floor or or in shoes. People with weaker immune systems or who suffer from diabetes are at greater risk, and walking barefoot can increase your changes of contracting athlete’s foot.
How to treat Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is very treatable and can often be cured through over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments such as creams, sprays and powders. It’s important to air out your feet as much as possible, wash them in the morning and evening, and change your socks or stockings daily. Make sure to let shoes dry fully before wearing them again. Apply the over-the-counter treatment to your shoes and feet and avoid peeling or scratching the flaking skin as this can spread the infection and damage healthy skin.
You will need to continue treating the infected area for 1-2 weeks after symptoms disappear to ensure you don’t experience a second flare-up. If you have a severe case of athlete’s foot, or if the treatment does not cause relief, consult a podiatrist.