Contracted generally in locker rooms and communal showers shared by athletes, this infection is highly contagious and easily transmitted to others whose feet may come in contact with tiny skin flakes shed by an infected person.
What causes it? Rapidly multiplying microorganisms, including the bacteria and fungi which cause athlete's foot, thrive in warm, moist, dark environments -- like showers and sweaty gym shoes.
Contact with contaminated floors, water, mats, towels, rugs, and clothes then transmit the fungus from one individual to another.
What are the symptoms? The typical signs of athlete's foot are: dryness, itching, stinging, burning, and/or scaling between the toes, and sometimes spreading to other areas of the foot.
How can it be treated and controlled naturally? Common sense measures such as keeping feet dry, frequent changing of socks, wearing waterproof sandals in public showers, and the application of anti-fungal powder will go a long way toward the prevention of athlete's foot.
However, when an outbreak does occur, several natural remedies are known to offer relief.
TEA TREE OIL has many anti-fungal properties and can be used to relieve itching and control infection.
WHITE VINEGAR mixed in a one-to-four ratio with warm water helps as well.
Soak feet twice daily in this solution for twenty to thirty minutes until the infection disappears.
BAKING SODA, or sodium bicarbonate, is also an excellent fungicide.
Combine one tablespoon of baking soda with warm water and rub the mixture on the affected area, allowing it to sit for 15 minutes or so before rinsing.
CORNSTARCH, a drying agent, applied directly to the affected area will relieve itching, prevent cracks in the skin, and aid in healing, too.