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Myths & Facts About Athlete’s Foot

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Myth 5: You can only get athlete's foot by walking barefoot in areas where the fungus lives

Walking barefoot in a locker room or public shower is one way to get athlete's foot, but it's not the only way. You can also become infected if you share a towel, socks, or shoes with someone who has athlete's foot.

Myth 6: If you don't have peeling skin between your toes, it's not athlete's foot

Athlete's foot can look different in each person. Some people do get peeling or cracking skin between their toes. Others have redness or dryness on the bottom of their feet that looks just like dry skin. If you're not sure what's going on with your feet, see a podiatrist or doctor.

Myth 7: Athlete's foot only affects the feet

Athlete's foot can spread if you scratch the itch and then touch other parts of your body, including your groin (jock itch) and the skin under your arms. It can also spread to other parts of your body via contaminated sheets or clothing.

Myth 8: You can't get athlete's foot if your feet are covered in shoes and socks all day

The fungus that causes athlete's foot thrives in dark, damp places. Wet shoes and socks are the perfect habitat for these little critters. Your feet are safe inside shoes or socks -- as long as you keep them dry. Otherwise, let those toes out in the air.

Myth 9: Athlete's foot will clear up on its own

Without treatment, athlete's foot will make your feet even itchier and more miserable. It can also turn into a more serious infection if you don't take care of it. Antifungal creams and pills are the best treatments for athlete's foot.

Myth 10: You can stop using medicine as soon as your symptoms clear up

To prevent athlete's foot from returning, keep using the medicine for the length of time your doctor recommended.

Myth 11: Once you treat athlete's foot, it's gone for good

If only that were true. Even after it's been treated, athlete's foot can reappear if you don't take steps to prevent it.

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