If you have a teen who is active in sports or spends a lot of time at the city pool, they could be at a higher risk of a fungal infection on their feet. Athlete's foot spreads in a damp environment like a locker room or pool deck, and it thrives in sweaty shoes and socks. You can treat mild fungal infections at home, but if your teen's infection doesn't clear up or causes a lot of pain or discomfort, consider seeing a foot doctor for treatment. Here are some treatments that could help:
A foot doctor can prescribe creams and powders stronger than those you buy over the counter. Your teen might even need to take oral medications for the infection. Since a fungal infection can cause itching, bleeding, and painful blisters, your teen can be miserable until the infection clears. The infection might interfere with playing sports, staying active, or engaging in social activities if it's bad enough, so seeing a podiatrist and getting effective treatment is helpful.
In some cases, bacteria may invade along with the fungus, especially in broken skin, and your teen may even need to be on antibiotics to clear their feet. A podiatrist examines the infection and then prescribes the right medication to get it cleared as quickly as possible.
Keeping The Feet Dry
If your teen has an issue with sweaty feet, they may need to change socks during the day so their feet stay as dry as possible. Fungal infections can spread when the feet are damp inside sweaty socks and shoes. The foot doctor may even recommend antiperspirants for the feet to control sweating. It may also help to alternate the shoes your teen wears every day so the shoes can dry out thoroughly before putting them on again. A foot doctor can advise you on the best type of athletic shoes and socks to buy for your teen that wick away moisture and allow circulation around the feet. The right shoes and socks can help a fungal infection clear up quicker and may also help prevent a return infection.
Treating Nail Infections If Present
Athlete's foot may start on a single toe, and it's good to begin treatment right away before the fungus spreads. The fungus can spread to other toes, other places on your teen's body, and even under the toenails. A fungal infection under the toenails is more difficult to get rid of and can cause the infection on the toes to come back. Toenail fungus can often be treated with medications too, but in some cases, toenail removal might be needed. That's why it's important to treat a fungal infection promptly. Your teen will appreciate prompt treatment so they don't have to suffer with painful and itchy feet.