The term “toe fungus” is often used interchangeably with “athlete’s foot” (known in the medical community as tinea pedis) a skin infection caused by a dermatophyte (keratin loving) fungus. the fungus invades the skin, often concentrating in the web-like section of skin between the toes.
The most common sign of a toe fungus infection is itchy, irritated, peeling and flaking skin between the toes. in more severe cases blisters and pustules can form and rupture. the condition is passed from person to person by direct or indirect contact. Sharing socks and shoes with an infected person or walking around barefoot in warm, moist and airless environments in which fungi thrive (such as public showers or changing rooms) are common ways to contract an infection.
It is very important to treat toe fungus infections as quickly as possible. While the symptoms are annoying and the condition contagious, early treatment will also help to reduce the risk of the fungus spreading to the nail where it is far harder to treat. Secondary bacterial infections can also occur in severe or chronic cases.
Nail fungus infections caused by the same group of dermatophye fungi are known in the medical field as Onychomycosis. the condition is more challenging to treat because the fungus can become very deeply embedded in the nail. the layers of nail that are designed to protect the toe also “protect” the fungus. it often takes many weeks of regular treatment to get rid of a nail fungus infection. Click for more on nail fungus treatment.
Over the counter antifungal creams can help get rid of most toe fungus infections relatively quickly, normally after 1-2 weeks. popular treatments include Lamisil AT, Lotramil and Tinactin. some such as Tineacide, Fungicure and Mycocide are also used to treat Onychomycosis. So if your infection appears to be spreading close to the nail, these are good products to consider. Oral antifungal treatments are also available on prescription, but are generally only used as a last resort, if topical approaches are not successful.
In order to speed up the treatment of toe fungus and reduce the risk of cross-infections, it is important to keep your toes as clean and dry as possible. Concentrate in particular on the area between the toes as this can trap moisture. Wear cotton socks and change these as often as possible. It’s a good idea to air your feet for a few hours each day, ideally getting them out into sunlight. consider using an antifungal foot powder on an ongoing basis as a preventative measure. Click here for more on fungus on skin infections.
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