Despite the common belief, athlete’s foot isn’t as contagious as you think it may be. In fact, you might have the fungus already on one or both of your feet right as you are reading this despite all the precautions you have taken. Instead of worrying about catching athlete’s foot from another person or worrying about an itchy foot the moment your feet make contact with a damp towel, locker room, public shower, or a pedicure tub; you should perhaps take a different look at how this infection spreads and what should be done to prevent it.
How contagious is athlete’s foot?
Many people often think that athlete’s foot is caused by someone or something else. It has rarely been considered that the infection occurred from careless mistakes and lack of precaution. For example, you may get athlete’s foot from your own household because a family member unknowingly is infected. This infection, despite what many people think, isn’t really caused by public places such as pools, showers, or restrooms, rather it’s spread by lack of caution and prevention.
Here are some ways that athlete’s foot is commonly spread:
- Failure to dry feet after strenuous activity or walking around for a extended period of time in soaked shoes.
- Wearing old or worn shoes. The soles often become sweaty or very worn and is an ideal place for the fungus to thrive.
- Constantly wearing the same shoes without giving the shoes time to air. This can breed fungus and mold.
- Sharing your socks or shoes with other people.
- Wearing the same socks even if they are sweaty and damp.
- Not wearing breathable socks or shoes. Cotton socks are ideal to allow the feet to breathe.
- Not wearing socks or those free foot stocking when trying shoes in the store.
Take note that the common denominator for athlete’s foot is moisture. Even if you think you’re shoes aren’t wet, it’s very likely that they are. You should also realize that an athlete’s foot infection is more likely to recur when a person has a weakened immune system, so another way to help prevent this infection is to a lifestyle that is generally healthy.
To further prove that it’s not necessarily the surface where the fungus grows and rather the preventative steps you take to ensure your feet are dry, studies have been done to prove this hypothesis. Test subjects were asked to bath one foot for 30 minutes in a tub that contained about 100,000 times the fungus found on the floor of a locker room.
In six weeks, the results proved that no infection occurred out of any of the test subjects.
Change up your attempts to prevent athlete’s foot
Instead of using abrasive procedures such as using harmful chemicals to sterilize shoes, it is best to use simple, but effective steps to prevent athlete’s foot.
Here are some helpful tips to prevent athlete’s foot:
- Make sure the shoes you wear are ventilated and breathable.
- Avoid synthetic socks, always go for cotton socks.
- Make sure feet are thoroughly dry before putting on socks and shoes.
- Change socks everyday. Also change socks if you are wearing a different pair of shoes.
- Wash feet with a gentle cleanser.