The most common culprit behind athlete’s foot is a class of fungus known as dermatophytes. This type of fungus causes a superficial infection, affecting only the top layer of skin (not the deeper tissues). If you have athlete’s foot, you are likely seeking the best way to defeat it. The good news is, this condition can typically be treated at home with an over-the-counter option. Now, before you seek the right treatment for you, here’s a little groundwork on the most commonly used medications out there.
Among the most popular over-the-counter topicals for athlete’s foot are Mentax (butenafine), Lotrimin (clotrimazole),and Lamisil (terbinafine). All of these treatments are similar in that they are synthetic antifungal products used to aid in fighting athlete’s foot. While these topical medications may accompany side effects such as itching, burning, stinging, and irritation (and sometimes worsening of the skin condition), these effects are typically confined to the area of treatment application.
However, if an infection does not resolve with an over-the-counter treatment, your doctor may prescribe you with a stronger topical medication, or an oral antifungal treatment. The oral medications used to treat this condition generally contain itraconazole or terbinafine. Since they are taken internally (usually in the form of a pill), they have a systemic effect. That said, they can cause more serious side effects, including dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, a short-term loss of taste and smell, and a risk of serious liver damage.
Before you decide on a treatment route for athlete’s foot, your best bet is to weigh the risks and benefits. After all, education is empowerment and everyone deserves to be an educated consumer.
In addition, once you defeat athlete’s foot, you can take measures to ensure that you walk away from this condition for good. A few tips that can help you are the following: Wear flip flops in shared areas (and places fungi happily live) such as gym showers, locker rooms, and public pool decks. Another important part of prevention is making sure that your feet get a chance to breathe. Change your socks at least once daily, and even more frequently if your feet are wet or excessively sweaty. The key to avoiding athlete’s foot is: prevention, prevention, prevention. Wishing you luck on tackling this mighty little menace named: athlete’s foot.