How to treat athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is caused by fungi that flourish on warm, sweaty feet. It passes readily from foot to foot via the locker-room floor, but you can catch it at home too. The symptoms are cracked or peeling skin, itching or burning, and sometimes blistering, especially between the toes and on the soles. Occasionally there are severer results, such as oozing blisters or deep cracks that should be treated by a dermatologist or podiatrist.

Mild cases may clear up with extra cleanliness and exposure to fresh air. Wash the feet with soap and water, then separate the toes and gently rub away peeling skin with a towel. Repeat and dry well. Sprinkle the feet and between the toes with fungicidal foot powder or baby powder. Repeat the treatment whenever the feet get sweaty or damp. A fungicidal ointment, obtained at a drugstore and applied two to three times daily, sometimes helps.

The more air circulates around the fungi, the faster they will die. In the summer, wear open sandals. Canvas or perforated shoes are the next best choices. Wear absorbent socks, preferably cotton, and change them daily, or oftener if they become damp.

If you have athlete’s foot, avoid spreading it by always wearing socks or sandals, even at home. To prevent reinfection, keep your feet dry and don’t walk barefoot in public places.