Think foot fungus only happens to men walking barefoot in the locker room? Think again! Unfortunately, foot fungus can happen to anyone at any time. Shoes, swimming pools, public showers and even some pedicure tubs (yuck!) can be the culprit behind foot fungus. Read on to find out what to look out for and how to treat the infection if you catch it.
The Cause: So what exactly causes foot fungus? According to the Mayo Clinic, yeast, mold and dermatophyte fungus are responsible for infections. Fungus thrives in warm, moist environments (think: a shoe) and can break through your skin through tiny abrasions or in between your nail and nail bed. Because toes have less blood flow, it’s harder for your body to detect and fight the infection.
The Symptoms: The Mayo Clinic says athlete’s foot, one of the most common forms of foot fungus, looks like a red, scaly skin rash that’s incredibly itchy and dry. This fungus usually starts in between your toes and, if left untreated, can eventually extend up toward the side of your foot. Additionally, a white powdery substance, black or yellow spots, ridges or foul odors can be signs of toenail fungus.
The Treatment: Depending on the severity of your infection, it’s always advised to get checked out by a doctor first. While he or she may prescribe an over-the-counter antifungal treatment, there are also a few drug-free remedies you can try. Cornmeal, tea tree oil, oregano oil, olive leaf extract and garlic are all believed to have antifungal properties. You also want to treat the fungus from the inside out by eating lots of probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt. One thing to keep in mind: If you do decide to visit the salon, it’s absolutely essential to be 100-percent honest about your infection. Avoid whirlpool tubs and bring your own polish to make sure you don’t spread the fungus to other clients.
Mayo Clinic (July 2015). Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org
Mayo Clinic (August 2016). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org
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