Reviewed by Stephanie Gardner on April 13, 2018
Ringworm Images Courtesy CDC Hansa Bhargava, MD WebMD Pediatrician Suephy Chen, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology Emory University Lanier Mull, Pharmacist Michael Smith, MD WebMD Chief Medical Editor
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Michael Smith, MD: the fungus that causes jock itch, athlete's foot, ringworm, it's everywhere in the environment. And you just need to take special measures to help prevent from getting it and also from spreading it.
Narrator: Prevention begins in public places..
Suephy Chen, MD: You know you have to take off your shoes as you walk through the security line at the airport, not a bad idea just to wear socks or bring a pair of socks so that you walk through with your feet not exposed.
Hansa Bhargava, MD: And if you're an athlete or you play sports, to be really careful about washing your hands and not sharing sports equipment with other people.
Michael Smith, MD: You need to make sure you wash those clothes. Do not reuse your towels particularly if you worked out in the gym.
Hansa Bhargava, MD: Optimally take a shower and wash everything off of you, but if you can't take a shower, at least change out of those clothes so that you don't allow the fungus what it really wants, a moist warm environment.
Suephy Chen, MD: if you're going to be in a public shower, you might want to just bring your own foot flops or shower shoes, so that you aren't touching the floor that might be already infected with the fungus.
Michael Smith, MD: At the gym, in the locker room or even for instance, at swimming pool areas because if your feet get infected with the fungus, you could even spread it to other areas of your body.
Narrator: Using preventative measures at home is always smart, but they become essential if a family member is currently battling a fungal infection.
Suephy Chen, MD: And especially if somebody has the toenail fungus, definitely you don't want to be sharing towels in that situation..
Hansa Bhargava, MD: It's important not to share hats, not to share combs.
Suephy Chen, MD: Not sharing nail clippers, grooming devices definitely everybody in the family should have their own.
Narrator: Of course, personal hygiene is key to overcoming any fungal skin infection, such as athlete's foot, while also preventing future episodes.
Lanier Mull, Pharmacist: Make sure that you wash your feet with soap and water, make sure you dry it real well and in between your toes.
Michael Smith, MD: Dry your feet last so you don't infect the rest of your body with fungus that might be on the towel.
Suephy Chen, MD: Even getting a hair dyer maybe at a very low setting...
Lanier Mull, Pharmacist: And sometimes you can even use a powder, a non-medicated powder just to keep the area dry..
Michael Smith, MD: Put your socks on before your underwear. You don't want to spread the fungus from your feet into your groin.
Lanier Mull, Pharmacist: Sometimes you have to treat your shoes or you have to get a new pair of shoes. The fungus can take hold of your gym shoes and it can keep giving the infection back to you.
Narrator: Overall, the way to preventing fungal skin infections is to stay clean and dry. Change socks and shoes often and be conscious of clothing and fabric choices.
Suephy Chen, MD: You don't want to wear tight fitting underwear or pants because again that causes people to sweat, and so for areas such as underwear and socks, it is better to wear some sort of material that breathes better such as cotton... Narrator: For WebMD, I'm Sandee Lamotte.