Athlete’s Foot is a very uncomfortable fungal infection that usually occurs on the feet (although it can occasionally spread to other areas of the body, such as the groin, too). It generally appears between the toes, but can also be found along the bottom of the feet, the instep, and may even spread beneath the toenails. Also known as tinea pedis, or ringworm of the foot, athletes foot can cause flaking, itching, and scaling of the skin in affected areas. If left untreated, severe cases can even result in scarring.
It’s caused by a Trichophyton fungus, and it is highly contagious. It’s usually transmitted under warm, moist conditions, especially where people travel barefoot, such as in swimming pools, communal showers, and bath houses. Once you contract athletes foot, the chances of getting it again in the future are even greater under the same conditions.
It’s far more common in hot climates too, although nobody is safe from infection. In fact, experts believe at least 50% of people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. Young men are most affected, but women and children experience above-average infection rates too.
Sweaty footwear is also a prime source of infection, and the single biggest factor for successful athletes foot treatment is to simply get rid of all such shoes, sneakers, etc. By avoiding circumstances in which your feet are exposed to such warm and moist conditions for long periods of time, your chances of developing a problem will remain small.
At home, it’s important to keep your shower clean. If another member of your family contracts athletes foot, make sure they wash separately to the rest of the family, and use separate towels to dry off afterwards. Since many people don’t know what causes athletes foot, you may need to explain the reason why they should do that, especially if it is a younger child. Also, the affected person should not walk around the house barefoot, as this may spread the infection (but, at the same time, they should also try to keep their feet as dry as possible; regular changing of socks and using new footwear will greatly help in that regard).