Athlete’s foot is a fungus that is easily transmitted among unwary travelers. By following some simple advice, you can make sure you don’t contaminate your feet in your hotel room or the barefoot extravaganza known as the airport security checkpoint.
Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal infection of the feet. Every day, podiatrists see people with feet that are burning, itching and peeling. Although many different species of fungus and yeast can cause the problem, the ways that you as a traveler can prevent it are simple and effective.
The fungus that cause athlete’s foot thrives in places that are dark, warm and moist. Shoes are the perfect habitat for fungus. Unfortunately for business travelers and vacationers, there are many places in airports, hotels and vacation spots that are covered in fungus just waiting to infect your feet.
Whenever living foot fungus or fungal spores (which are basically seeds for fungus waiting to sprout) stick to bare skin or enter through tiny little openings in the skin, it can take hold and start to grow. As the fungus grows, it pulls water from the surrounding skin.
This causes peeling and itching of the skin as the fungus does damage and causes delamination or peeling away of the skin’s outer layers. Frequently the infection starts in the moist area between the toes of on the bottom of the foot.
Foot doctors often describe a “moccasin distribution” pattern with athlete’s foot infections. This means that the areas of the feet that turn red and start peeling are usually those that would be in contact with moccasins. The tops of the feet and ankle don’t usually become involved.
Fortunately for you, the most effective prevention measures are also very easy… don’t step in the fungus! When you are traveling, you just have to know where not to step.
You have to make sure to guard your shoes against fungus. The shoes need to be a safe haven for your feet. Any time you get live fungus or fungal spores in your shoes, you run the risk of getting fungal toenails or an athlete’s foot infection.
No matter what you do, when you travel, your feet will prespire. A hurried stressful pace in airport terminals, trying to make that connection while toting a laptop and carry-on bag will make you (and your feet) sweat like crazy.
Since fungus needs moisture to live, you want to do anything you can to reduce the moisture in your shoes. A good place to begin is with well ventilated shoes that breathe while you are on your trip. Shoes that have breathable mesh uppers made of nylon, mesh, or cotton breathe fairly well and let the moisture escape. Leather, plastic and rubber tend to hold the fungus in your shoes encouraging fungus to grow.
Make sure you rotate your shoes during your trip. Have at least two pairs of shoes so you can wear them on alternate days. This will allow them enough time to fully dry …