Athlete’s foot is a highly contagious fungus that typically spreads on damp locker room floors and shower stalls. Sometimes there is no rash — but rather, a peeling and flaking of the skin beneath the toes. Other times, the fungus causes the foot to turn beet red and a full-scale rash erupts. Either way, the symptoms of athlete’s foot are uncomfortable and itchy. As the infection progresses, painful blisters may erupt and the infection can spread to other parts of the body.
Athlete’s Foot, Ringworm & Jock Itch — Oh My!
Tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) skin infections can spread to other parts of the body, but usually go by a different name once it migrates. For instance, tinea cruris (jock itch) is a fungal infection of the groin. Tinea corporis refers to a similar fungal infection on the body or limbs. Tinea capitis (ringworm) is also in that family of fungus. It often begins on the scalp, nails or arm. Tinea versicolor is a type of mild yeast infection.
Athlete’s Foot Complications
According to the Mayo Clinic, athlete’s foot can “create an environment that invites a secondary infection.” The fungus produces an antibiotic substance that kills off the good bacteria and allows bad bacteria to move in, causing tissue breakdown and soggy, eroding skin between the toes.
Another complication of athlete’s foot occurs when proteins enter your bloodstream. Doctors call this a dermatophytid reaction. When this happens, blisters may begin erupting on your fingers, toes, nails, chest, arms, or hands. People with weakened immune systems, diabetes, AIDS, cancer, or a genetic history of fungal infections are more susceptible to secondary skin infections caused by athlete’s foot.
Preventing The Spread Of Athlete’s Foot
Naturally, no one wants to contend with oozing sores that are full of pus. No one wants to develop widespread inflammation and blisters that make them unable to go out in public comfortably. Here are a few tips for preventing the spread and worsening of athlete’s foot:
- Seek treatment IMMEDIATELY, at the first signs of athlete’s foot.
- Take extra care to avoid aberrations and blisters on the feet.
- Wear socks that are sweat-wicking cotton blends.
- Dry your feet well after bathing.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after washing your feet.
- Always wear flip-flops at the very least when walking around with foot fungus. Never go barefoot!
- Use an anti-fungal cream or over-the-counter oral medication for the entire duration your doctor recommends.
- Sanitize your shoes with the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer for 45 minutes each night to kill off any living fungus.