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How to Cure and Prevent Fungal Foot Infections

Overview

Fungal foot infections attack the skin of your feet because they feed on the protein keratin, which is contained within your skin, your hair and your nails.

Generally, skin infections throughout the body are divided into two groups, yeast infections, which include thrush and intertrigo, and dermatophyte infections, which include athlete's foot, by far the most common type of fungal infection, affecting 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives.

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, is actually formed from a combination of fungal and bacterial infections, and causes the skin on a patient's foot to itch, become red and dry (most commonly between the toes), and, in more severe cases, to blister and crack.

Thankfully, given their commonness, it is usually not extremely difficult to cure (and indeed prevent) fungal foot infections.

Prevention

The most common transmission of fungal foot infections occurs when somebody comes into contact with infected skin cells in the communal showers of a swimming pool.

Simply wearing flip-flips or some other form of foot covering when you walk around the changing areas of a swimming pool can dramatically decrease your chances of catching a fungal foot infection.

Other useful tips include alternating your walking shoes, especially if you've been hot during the day, and allowing them to dry out before you wear them again, and wearing natural fibre socks to make sure you don't overheat.

People with diabetes or weakened immune systems are considerably more likely to catch a fungal foot infection.

Treatment

Because a fungal foot infection is an infection of the skin, i.e. only on the surface, most treatments simply involve applying cream to the affected area.

Some types of anti-fungal creams, sprays, powders and other treatments available over-the-counter from chemist shops; it's worth asking your chemist for help if you think you have a fungal foot infection.

If you have a more persistent infection, consult your doctor, who might prescribe a stronger (non-topical) form of treatment, including tablets.

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