While foot infections can occur all year round, our lower limbs are particularly susceptible during the summer months. As bacteria and fungi thrive in warm and moist conditions, sweaty feet are an ideal habitat for these harmful organisms.
Don’t let itchy and painful feet ruin your summer fun! Instead, follow these four tips to protect your feet from contracting an infection this season.
1. Keep Your Feet Dry
One of the best preventative measures that you can take to reduce your risk of developing an infection is to keep your feet dry. Supportive, open-toed sandals are a great choice to keep your feet from getting overly sweaty. If you prefer closed shoes, though, be sure to wear ones made of breathable materials like cotton or nylon, as well as moisture-wicking socks. On sweltering days, change your socks frequently and alternate shoes to keep your feet as dry as possible. Never let your feet stay wet for an extended amount of time.
2. Practice Proper Hygiene
Due to the high temperatures and increased skin exposure, feet tend to get extra sweaty and dirty in the summer. For that reason, you need to practice proper foot hygiene to combat infection. Thoroughly wash your feet with antibacterial soap every day, especially after going barefoot in public. Be sure to keep your nails clean and short, so dirt doesn’t accumulate underneath. If you get a cut or blister on your foot, keep it clean and covered up to promote quick healing.
3. Cover Your Soles
If not properly sanitized, public places like pools, waterparks, and shower houses can become a breeding ground for foot fungus. Infective bacteria also exist in marine environments. In order to keep your feet safe from tainted surfaces and water-borne pathogens, it’s essential to wear shoes that cover your soles whenever possible. Not only do water shoes shield your feet from coming in contact with infectious organisms, but they also protect your lower limbs from sustaining an injury.
4. Act at the First Sign of Infection
Get into the habit of checking your feet often for irregularities. If you notice any symptoms of infection such as discoloration, itching, burning, peeling skin, or discharge, don’t wait for it to run its course. Early intervention will stop the infection from spreading and worsening. To treat a mild infection, regularly use an over-the-counter antifungal spray or cream and keep your feet clean. In addition, make sure that you disinfect any contaminated shoes, socks, and surfaces. The infection should clear up within two weeks.