Does my child have athlete’s foot?
Athletes are not the only ones who get the itchy skin rash known as “athlete’s foot.” Anyone can get athlete’s foot if their bare feet are exposed to a fungus in the right environment such as wet public/school gym and shower floors. Athlete’s foot is rare in pre-teens.
Athlete’s foot is a very common rash on the skin of the foot. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot grows on warm, damp surfaces such as around pools, public showers and locker rooms.
The fungus can cause infection when it comes in contact with conditions that allow it thrive; for example, on bare damp feet. “Most people, especially teenage boys, are likely to contract athlete’s foot at some point in their lives,” observes Robert Morris, M.D., pediatrician at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.
• itching; burning; cracked, blistered
or peeling areas between the toes • redness and scaling on
the soles of the feet • rash that spreads to the
instep, and raw skin.
Occasionally the open skin can become infected with bacteria that will cause pain and spreading redness. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can spread to other parts of the foot, including toenails. It can also infect other parts of the body—such as the groin, inner thighs and underarms.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Physicians can generally diagnose athlete’s foot just by looking at the infected feet. An over-the-counter, topical antifungal cream will kill the fungus. Athlete’s foot can also be diagnosed by scraping the affected skin and looking at it under a microscope to see if the fungus is present. For infections that involve the sole of the foot, prescription oral medication may be prescribed, Dr. Morris notes.
It’s also helpful to wash feet and keep them dry and in the open air to inhibit the fungus from growing. Maintaining a disinfected environment to discourage fungal infection is ideal, but not always feasible. Not all foot skin problems are athlete’s foot. Parents should talk to their children about how common these infections are to get them to recognize symptoms and seek treatment before the rash becomes more bothersome and uncomfortable,”
If you suspect your child (especially a preteen) has athlete’s foot, it is a good idea to have a doctor take a look in order to make a correct diagnosis.
Ways to avoid athlete’s foot:
• Wash your feet every day and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes • Wear footwear that allows
your feet to “breathe” • Wear shower sandals or shoes in pool
areas, public showers and gyms • Use antifungal powder in
your sneakers or shoes • Keep home bathroom surfaces clean
— especially showers and tubs -This information provided courtesy of Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA