Have You Got Foot Fungus? Treating Athlete’s Foot and Other Fungal Conditions
If you’re experiencing itching between your toes, then it’s likely that you’ve got athlete’s foot, a type of fungal infection. Fungal infections on the foot, particularly between the toes and around the nails, are incredibly common. In fact, according to Bupa, around one in five people in the UK suffer from it.
Whilst it’s not serious, it’s important to treat the condition as soon as you can, not least because it is contagious and can be passed easily on to other people. If left untreated, it can spread across the foot and even to other parts of the body, plus can leave you more susceptible to infection.
How Can You Tell it’s Athlete’s Foot?
In its early stages, athlete’s foot tends to manifest itself as a nagging itch, often between the toes. The affected area might possibly look red, scaly and dry. If allowed to develop, the fungi is likely to cause the skin to become inflamed and blistered. In severe cases, it may eventually cause the skin to crack, which exposes the delicate tissue underneath. This is not only rather painful, but increases your chances of getting a bacterial infection.
Fungal nail infections generally appear as thickening or discolouration of the nail. If the infection progresses, it may cause the nail to crack or even drop off.
Treating Fungal Foot Conditions
With fungal nail infections, you might not always need to treat it, as it can sometimes clear up on its own accord. However, it’s important to keep nails short, allow air to circulate around your feet as much as possible and keep the affected area clean. If you notice the infection spreading, then it’s advisable to seek the advice of your GP.
Likewise, it is possible to treat athlete’s foot at home, providing the infection isn’t too severe. Practice good foot hygiene and make sure the affected area is kept as dry as possible. Avoid wearing socks or shoes that cause the foot to sweat, as this can help the fungal bacteria to grow.
Bad Cases of Athlete’s Foot
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you may not realise that your athlete’s foot or fungal nail infection have become severe. If you’ve got to the point where you’re unable to treat the condition at home, you’ll need to purchase some antifungal medication to target the problem.
This is readily available from your high street pharmacist and can be purchased without a prescription. There are a variety of treatments available, including creams, gels and sprays. However, if over-the-counter treatment isn’t effective against the problem, you’ll need to book an appointment with your doctor, who will recommend a stronger form of antifungal medication, generally in a tablet form.
Looking After Your Feet
Providing you follow a good foot hygiene routine, there’s no reason why you should get athlete’s foot or fungal nail infection again. Aim to wear cotton socks, which allow the skin to breathe, and avoid wearing shoes that make your feet sweat. Above all else, get in the habit of checking your feet regularly, particularly between the toes.
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