From minor problems like itching between your toes, to major issues such as losing your toenails or experiencing itchy blisters, athlete’s foot is a fungus infection you’ll want to run from. Yet this fungus catches up with most people.
In fact, according to a systematic review published in the BMJ Clinical Evidence journal, scientists found that 1 in 4 people will be infected at least once.
While there are various treatments for athlete’s foot, your best strategy is avoiding the Tinea Pedis fungus in the first place. If you want to keep your feet healthy and itch-free, try these five best strategies for avoiding and preventing athlete’s foot.
1. Change Your Clothes
Your socks, to be more specific. What you wear on your feet plays a big role in your foot health.
Most athletic socks are synthetic. This means that they’re made with engineered fibers, such as polyester, acrylic and polypropylene. And unfortunately, synthetic fibers can actually increase the humidity around your feet, which in turn raises your risks of athlete’s foot.
Instead, trade out your current socks for socks made from natural fibers, such as wool, cotton or silk. Natural fibers dry faster and pull moisture away from your skin, keeping your toes dry and fungus-free.
2. Stay Fresh
Moist bacteria buildup and dirt creates a habitat that athlete’s foot fungus loves to populate. Remember to wash your feet at least once a day with a cleansing soap, and ensure your feet are thoroughly dry before putting on socks or footwear. Speaking of socks and footwear, never re-use a pair of socks. Additionally, consider alternating your footwear and avoid wearing the same shoes or slippers two days in a row. This helps to ensure that your footwear gets a thorough airing out and are dry the next time you wear them. This simple step alone can dramatically reduce your athlete’s foot risks.
3. Be Cautious in Public
Athlete’s foot is very, very easily transmitted from an infected person to you through contact with the same surfaces. Whenever you’re in a moist or wet public environment, such as a gym, a public pool or even your bathroom in a hotel room while on vacation, wear flip flops.
Additionally, never share items that touch feet, such as towels or bath mats.
With these three strategies, you can avoid becoming one of the 25% of adults who inevitably contract this foot fungus.