Athlete's foot is a very common infection. The fungus grows best in a warm, moist environment. It is commonly found in shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms, and the floors of public showers. It is most frequent in the summer and in warm, humid climates. It occurs more often in people who wear tight shoes and who use community baths and pools.
However, one can diagnose such fungal infection very easily by visually looking at signs and symptoms such as itching, burning or redness, cracking, blisters on skin between toes and figures areas of feet. For a definitive diagnosis, a skin scraping can be examined under a microscope after dissolving the skin tissue with potassium hydroxide (KOH).
Available OTC treatment options for athlete foot are topical antifungal agents such as tolfnaftate (Desenex), miconazole (Micatin), clotrimazole, (Lotrimin AF), butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra), Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) etc.
While most topical antifungals take a month or more to be effective, Lotrimin Ultra (butenafine) or Lamisil AT cream between the toes or bottom and sides of feet for 2 times day can be effective in as little a week. Read the instruction on each product carefully for frequency and duration of therapy. Also be aware that different dosage forms of a product may have different active ingredients e.g. Lotrimin AF (clotrimazole), Lotrimin Ultra (butinafine), Lotrimin AF Antifungal Deodorant Powder Aerosol Spray (miconazole). This is important when taking a drug history to know when drug the patient is taking in case they become allergic or have an adverse effect.
Also you can prevent fungus infections by doing following simple steps:
- Keep your feet dry, especially between your toes.
- Change socks and stockings regularly.
- Alternate pairs of shoes and don't share shoes
-Use antifungal powder in the shoes after wearing to prevent reinfection
- Protect your feet in public places.
- For finger nail treatment there is no effective OTC medication available. Best treatment is Rx Lamisil (terbinafine) 250mg a day for 6 weeks.
- For toe nail treatment there is also no effective OTC medication available. Best treatmentt is Rx Lamisil (terbinafine) 250mg a day for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 week treatment, the nail may still look infected but do not continue therapy. It takes time for the infected nail to grow out.