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Athlete's Foot Treatment

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Athlete's Foot Treatment
What is Athlete's Foot?
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatment

Athlete's foot treatment
As with any infection, it is important to seek medical treatment about athlete's foot as soon as possible. If it goes untreated, it will continue to spread, making your feet feel really itchy and uncomfortable. This usually results in the infection becoming more difficult to treat and eliminate. More serious infections can also develop on your feet as well if left untreated.

Medications
There are many conventional medications that doctors use to treat athlete's foot. Anti-itch creams are generally not recommended for treating athlete's foot. These creams can alleviate the symptoms but will exacerbate the fungus. because they typically enhance the moisture content of the skin. This usually encourages fungal growth. For this reason, some drug manufacturers are using a gel instead of a cream. Prescription, non-prescription as well as alternative treatments may be recommended.

The time line for athlete's foot to clear up may be long in duration. Sometimes it takes 45 days or longer for it to be completely gone. The recommended course of treatment is to apply the topical treatment to the infected area(s) for four weeks. The goal is to ensure that the fungus has been completely eliminated. However, because the itching associated with the infection subsides quickly, many patients do not complete the courses of therapy prescribed.

Antifungal medications
Fungal infections are often treated with topical antifungal agents. These antifungal agents can take the form of a spray, powder, cream, or gel. The most common ingredients in over-the-counter products are miconazole nitrate and tolnaftate. Another over the counter drug that may be used is Terbinafine. There are quite a large number of prescription antifungal drugs. Other antifungal drugs that a commonly prescribed are ketaconazole, itraconazole, naftifine, nystatin, caspofungin.

Another topical agent such as carbol fuchsin (also known as Castellani's paint), works well, but usually only in small selected areas involved in the infection. This red dye, used in this treatment is both fungicidal and bactericidal .However, because of staining, it usually is cosmetically undesirable to be used by most people who have athlete's foot. Gentian violet is another stain that has been shown to an effective athlete's foot treatment but causes staining as well.

Antiyeast medications
If the fungal invader is not caused by a dermatophyte but by a yeast, other medications can be used. One such drug is called fluconazole. Typically fluconazole is used for candidal vaginal infections moniliasis. However, it has been shown to be of benefit for those with cutaneous/dermal yeast infections as well. The most common of these infections occur in the webbed spaces between the toes. The other common area of infection usually occurs the base of the fingernail or toenail. The key identifier for this type of infection is a cherry red color surrounding the lesion with the accompanied by yellow, thick pus.

Oral medications
If your fungal infection is severe or doesn't respond to topical medicine, your doctor may prescribe a systemic, oral medication for you. Oral medications include:

  • Fluconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Terbinafine

Side effects from oral medications can include gastrointestinal upset, rash and cause the liver function to function abnormally. Taking other medications, such as antacid therapies for ulcer disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), may interfere with the expected absorption of these drugs. Oral medications for athlete's foot may alter the effectiveness of the anticoagulant drug, warfarin.

Additionally, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic if you have an accompanying bacterial infection. Your doctor may also recommend wet dressings, steroid ointments, compresses or vinegar soaks to help clear up blisters or soggy skin.

Prevention
Key any treatment plan for athlete's foot is the practice of good, personal hygiene. The following tips can help you avoid athlete's foot or lessen the symptoms if infection occurs:

  • Alternate pairs of shoes to allow time for your shoes to dry.
  • Avoid shoes made of synthetic material, such as vinyl or rubber.
  • Change socks and stockings regularly.
  • Don't borrow shoes - borrowing risks spreading a fungal infection.
  • Go barefoot to let your feet air out as much as possible when you're home.
  • Keep your feet dry, especially between your toes.
  • If you have experienced an infection previously, treat your feet and shoes with over-the-counter drugs.
  • If your feet sweat a lot, change your socks twice a day.
  • Protect your feet in public places.
  • Use an antifungal powder daily.
  • Wash feet, particularly between the toes, with soap and dry thoroughly after bathing or showering.
  • Wear light, well-ventilated shoes.
  • Wear socks that are made of natural material, such as cotton or wool, or a synthetic fiber designed to draw moisture away from your feet.
  • Wear waterproof sandals or shower shoes in communal showers, pools, fitness centers and other public areas.
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Tags: gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastroesophageal reflux, alternative treatments, bacterial infection, antifungal agents, medical treatment, fungal infection, gastrointestinal, oral medication, liver function, prescription, medications, alternative, fluconazole, medication, absorption, antifungal, abnormally, infections, antibiotic
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