Preventing Athlete’s Foot and Other Fungal Infections

It’s been another hot summer in Carson City! We hope you’ve been enjoying the great outdoors—but also staying cool, too. The season’s heat is, unfortunately, a major risk factor that can increase your odds of contracting a fungal foot infection like athlete’s foot or fungal nails.

Fungal infections can cause rashes and yellow your toenailsFirst, a quick bio lesson. Athlete’s foot, fungal nails, and other fungal skin infections (like jock itch and ringworm) are all caused by the same group of fungi. They’re called dermatophytes, and they feast on tough proteins called keratin that are prevalent in human skin, nails, and hair.

These fungi love the heat, and they love moisture and humidity. True, Carson City has a drier heat than most of the country, but it’s not just about moisture in the atmosphere. Heat causes people to sweat, and that sweat can get trapped on feet, in socks, and inside shoes—damp shoes are a perfect breeding ground for dermatophytes.

But it’s worse than that. The fungi can stick to towels, sheets, and even hard surfaces like exercise equipment, locker room floors, public showers, and pools. And because the same group of fungi cause a multitude of problems, once they’re on you somewhere they can transfer from toe to toe or body part to body part through direct or indirect contact. In other words, if you have athlete’s foot and don’t treat it, you could wind up with fungal toenails and rashes elsewhere.

It’s always better to prevent a fungal infection than to treat it, especially if the toenails are involved. So, keep the following quick tips in mind:

  • Switch socks when they get damp—multiple times per day if necessary.
  • Wear breathable shoes and rotate between 2-3 pairs rather than putting on the same pair every day.
  • Wash and dry your feet every day.
  • Don’t go barefoot in public.
  • Don’t share clothes, towels, linens, and the like with others.
  • Treat any fungal infections you do develop quickly and thoroughly to prevent them from spreading.
  • If you get a pedicure, make sure the technician uses sterile tools and facilities.

With any luck, you’ll make it through the summer free from any unwanted fungal invaders! However, if you do contract an infection, the best course of action is to clear it as quickly as possible—before it spreads to other parts of the body. Fungal nails are best addressed through laser therapy, since the natural protection of the nail makes it very difficult for home treatments to work. By contrast, athlete’s foot can usually be treated at home using topical creams or sprays, but do come to see us if you have a stubborn case that isn’t going away.

To set up in appointment with either of our two offices—Carson City or Gardnerville—please give us a call today at (775) 783-8037.

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