Does my child have ath­lete’s foot?

Wellness Update - - Organ Donation -

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.

Symp­toms in­clude:

• 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

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