The itchy red rash or dry, scaling skin of Athlete’s foot isn’t serious by itself, but it can certainly be annoying, especially if it comes back again and again. In some cases, it can also lead to a more serious bacterial infection.
Like many healthcare issues, it’s easier to prevent athlete’s foot than it is to get rid of it. The fungus that causes it likes warm, damp, conditions like those found in locker rooms, swimming pool areas and showers, where one person’s athlete’s foot can quickly become 10 people’s athlete’s foot. To avoid it, don’t go barefoot in places where it’s likely to live, and don’t share shoes with other people. Also, change into dry socks if your feet become damp, and don’t wear tight shoes. If necessary, alternate pairs of shoes every other day.
If you do get athlete’s foot, try an over-the-counter antifungal medication first. If the condition persists for longer than two weeks, see your healthcare provider. If you have diabetes or a compromised immune system, see your healthcare provider as soon as you suspect you have it.