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Athlete’s Foot

Posted July. 24, 2006 03:18,   


One common disease that enjoys the sweltering hot weather of summer is athlete’s foot. The unpleasant odor that accompanies athlete’s foot most of the time is enough to ward off your closest friends.

Athlete’s foot is a typical skin mycosis. In other words, fungus is the cause for the disease. It generally afflicts those in their twenties to forties, and in rare cases appears in children as well.

The usual symptom is itchiness, but if left untended for a long time the itch disappears and the sole of the foot thickens with white flakes. At this point the patient can easily be misled by the lack of symptoms, so if the sole becomes dry and flakey, it’s best to consult a doctor.

If the symptoms are mild, persistently applying ointments for athlete’s foot can clear up the disease within four to eight weeks. To be rid of the bacteria for good, you must apply the medicine to not only the afflicted areas, but also the surrounding areas. For aggravated sores, foot soaks may be part of the treatment, and for severe cases internally ingested medicine is recommended.

Professor of Dermatology at Korea University Ansan Hospital Son Sang-ok says, “I’ve seen many cases where the patients use folk remedies with highly toxic solvents, but you should avoid this as it may cause another infection.” Folk remedies like vinegar, acetic acid, acetone, and soju have never been proven to be effective.

Athlete’s foot generally does not occur in those who go barefoot, but in humid environments with little ventilation where fungus can roam free. So if your feet perspire excessively, or aren’t dried properly after showers or swimming, if you wear tight socks and shoes, or if the weather is hot, you may be at a risk for athlete’s foot. For this reason, taking care of your feet on a regular basis is important.

You can prevent athlete’s foot by washing your feet clean, and removing all moisture. Cotton socks or toe socks are advised for sweaty feet.

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com