Ditch the Itch: Avoiding Fungal Infections in the Summer

A senior woman massages her foot
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Although summer vacation has come to a close and the kids are headed back to class, the summertime weather is still here to stay. With the increased heat and humidity, your risk of developing a fungal infection increases as well. Fungus thrives in warm, damp environments, so it’s best to take preventative measures throughout the warmest months of the year. Here are a few of summer’s most common fungal infections and how you can prevent them.

Athlete’s foot: As the name implies, this infection affects the foot and it’s the most common fungal infection contracted in the summer. This fungus usually lurks in warm, wet environments such as shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms, and public showers.

Typical symptoms of this infection include peeling, redness, itching, burning, blisters, and sometimes soreness of the infected area. Applying a topical, anti-fungal medication on the affected area can usually treat athlete’s foot. In more severe cases, oral medicines may also be required. While the treatment is in progress, it is important that you keep your foot clean and dry. However, to prevent getting Athlete’s foot in the first place, it’s best to keep your feet clean with daily washings and wearing footwear that allows for ventilation.

Ringworm: Unlike the above two infections, ringworm is contagious and you can easily catch it from other people, animals and even from the soil. This particular infection causes rashes in the form of red circles, and despite the name, is not an actual worm.

After contracting ringworm, the skin will get itchy and scaly. Then, the area will spread and form a raised, ring-shaped border. The area inside this border can be clear or scaly and sometimes have red bumps.

This infection gets incredibly itchy, but can easily be treated with anti-fungal cream. Like the other infections that occur in the summer, ringworm thrives in warm, moist environments, and the best way to prevent it is by keeping your skin clean and dry.

Jock itch: This infection is common among athletes because they’re constantly sweating, though anyone can get it. Jock itch affects the genital areas, inner thighs and buttocks and causes a red, itchy, roundish rash.

At times, this infection can get so itchy that the aggressive scratching leads to a bacterial infection of the skin as well. To treat jock itch, a doctor will prescribe a topical anti-fungal medication and in some cases, an antibiotic to treat the infection caused by constant scratching.

The trick to preventing jock itch is keeping your groin area dry and clean. Opt for loose fitting underwear and avoid clothes that cling to or rub that area. Keep up your hygiene and wear fresh clothes each time you exercise, specifically the supportive gear. If you have a history of jock itch it would be advisable to use anti-fungal powders following each bath during the summer.

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