Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s Foot is a common skin infection at the bottom of feet. More than 70% of Americans will develop it during their lifetime. The infection is caused by a fungus that can be found on floors or clothes. The fungus can be spread from person to person or from coming in contact with it in these locations and spreads if the foot is warm and moist. Symptoms include dry skin, itching, burning, and redness of the feet. Treatment includes keeping the foot dry, and applying anti-fungal creams to the infected area.

Q1: What can be done to prevent someone from getting athlete's foot? (A. Cameron)
A1: Keep the feet dry whenever possible, wear sandals in public facilities (especially swimming pools or locker rooms), and don't wear other people's shoes.

Q2: Can this spread to other parts of the body? (M. Seibert)
A2: Yes, this and similar fungal infections can appear almost anywhere on the body, such as the scalp, arms and legs, hands, nails, and groin.

Q3: How can keeping the foot dry help treat the infection? (S. Bamber)
A3: The fungus thrives with moisture and heat, so by keeping the foot dry, the fungus would not be able to grow and spread, and it would therefore be either eliminated by the body or easily treated with medicinal techniques.

Q4: I have heard that Head and Shoulder's Shampoo can help with decreasing the chances of getting Athlete's Foot. Is it the chemical makeup of head and shoulders that does the preventing or the simple action of washing feet, or is it just a rumor? (CBACON)
A4: Just washing an infected foot regularly can often do the trick. However, the active ingredient in Head and Shoulder' Shampoo, zinc pyrithione, can also help treat athlete's foot, as well as several other conditions(ex: dermatitis, ringworm, and eczema).

Q5: Is this disease contagious by the sharing of shoes, or coming in contact with someone who has this infection? (S. Murray)
A5: It can be spread either way if you come in contact with the fungus.