Athlete's Foot is a fungal infection that may affect mainly feet, but also other regions of the body. Knowing the cause of this infection and the risk factors is important to help you prevent getting the infection or spreading it to others around you.
Direct Contact with an Infected Person
The easiest way to catch the Athlete’s Foot infection is through direct contact with an infected person. The fungi can easily spread and a brief contact with the feet/hands of an infected person may be sufficient for you to be infected as well.
Athlete’s Foot is most commonly seen on feet, due to the fact that these may sweat. Since feet are in wet, moist socks all day, the fungi develop and multiply. For this reason, if you perform activities that will make you sweat or if your feet sweat excessively, you should change your socks or wear open toed shoes. These will allow your feet to become dry and breathe, preventing the development of the infection.
In the same way, the infection can develop in other areas such as underarms or in the groin area. Changing clothes and underwear is important to avoid a fungal infection.
Public Pools and Showers
Athlete’s Foot is caused by fungi, which thrive in wet areas. In public pools and showers, there are high chances that these fungi already exist and they can easily spread. Consequently, it’s imperative that you wear shower shoes while in such places and make sure to wash your feet at home as well. Also, try not to sit directly on benches or chairs in these areas. Place a towel and sit on your towel.
When you share your personal items with several people, you are exposed to getting an infection, which may be Athlete’s foot or a different infection.
Avoid sharing the following items with others, just to be safe:
- Shower shoes/shoes
- Bed sheets
Additional Risk Factors
You should know that the fungi will develop and multiply in wet, warm environments; consequently, summer is the ideal month for these infections. If you live in a warm climate area, you may be more exposed to getting an athlete’s foot infection, so you need to be extra cautious.
There are also additional risk factors such as:
- A weak immune system
- Wounds, cuts and damaged skin
If you have a fungal infection, you should avoid public pools and showers. Don’t share your personal items with others, as you can spread the infection. Athlete’s Foot may be treated with topical creams and rinses. Contact a dermatologist for treatment options.