Athlete’s foot is an unpleasant condition caused by the fungus tinea pedis that typically causes itchy, flaking skin around the toes and feet. Fortunately there are several ways it can be prevented.

 

Foot hygiene

After a bath or shower, dry your feet thoroughly. You could also try using a hair dryer on a low setting, particularly between your toes where moisture tends to collect.

Make your own antifungal foot spray then spray it onto the affected area once a day after showering. Combine 10 drops of lavender essential oil and 10 drops of tea-tree essential oil in 125ml apple cider vinegar. Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before applying.

An anti-candida diet may help to solve a problem with persistent athlete's foot. Some natural therapists believe there is a connection between overgrowth of the yeast organism Candida albicans in the gut and recurrent bouts of fungal infection. One of the major causes of candida overgrowth is antibiotics. To starve yeast out of the system, avoid sugary foods and yeasty, mouldy or fermented foods. See a trained naturopath or dietician for more detailed advice.

If your toenails are thick, yellow, crumbly and brittle, you probably have a fungal nail infection, which can lead to athlete's foot. Get rid of the toenail fungus–with either an over-the-counter antifungal medication or a visit to your GP–and you'll reduce your chances of getting athlete's foot.

 

Shoes and socks

Wear clean cotton socks. Natural fibres absorb moisture best. If your feet sweat a lot, then change your socks 2 or 3 times during the day to keep your feet sweat-free. And wash them in very hot water (60ºC in the washing machine) to kill any fungus spores.

Wear shoes made of canvas or leather, which allow your feet to breathe. Avoid rubber and plastic, which hold moisture in and can cause feet to sweat.

Don't wear the same shoes 2 days in a row. It takes at least a day for shoes to dry out. If your feet sweat heavily, change your shoes twice a day.

Dust the insides of your shoes with antifungal powder or spray. To kill fungus spores, spray some disinfectant on a cloth and wipe out the insides of your shoes after you take them off.

Wear flip-flops in places where other people go barefoot, such as gyms, health clubs, changing rooms and around public swimming pools.

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