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Athlete’s foot is a common, contagious fungus infection of the skin on the feet. The feet, especially the soles and the skin between the toes (usually the 4th and 5th toes), are involved. Athlete’s foot can affect both sexes and all ages but is more common in adolescents than younger children.
Appropriate health care includes:
- Self-care after diagnosis.
- Physician’s monitoring if infection is severe or persistent.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Moist, soft, gray-white or red scales on feet, especially between toes.
- Dead skin between toes.
- Itching in inflamed areas.
- Damp, musty foot odor.
- Small blisters on the feet (sometimes).
Infection by a trichophyton fungus.
- Infrequent washing of the feet.
- Infrequent changes of shoes or socks.
- Use of locker rooms and public showers.
- Hot, humid weather.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
- Instructions for your child:
- Bathe feet daily. Dry thoroughly and dust with talc.
- Go barefoot when possible.
- Change shoes and socks daily.
- Wear socks made of cotton, wool, or other natural, absorbent fibers. Avoid synthetics.
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory culture and microscopic examination of scales.
- Secondary bacterial infection in the affected area.
- Id reaction on hands and face (rare).
Usually curable in 3 weeks with treatment, but recurrence is common.
- Remove scales and material between your child’s toes daily.
- Keep affected areas cool and dry. The child should go barefoot or wear sandals during treatment.
- Use non-prescription anti-fungal powders, creams, or ointments after your child’s daily bath.
- For severe cases, your doctor may prescribe an oral anti-fungal medication.
- See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?
Yes, unless the infection is so severe that the child’s walking is impaired.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
- Your child has severe symptoms of athlete’s foot that persist, despite self-treatment.
- Your child develops a fever or the infection seems to be spreading.
From the Complete Guide to Pediatric Symptoms, Illness & Medications by H. Winter Griffith, M.D. © 1989 The Putnam Berkley Group, Inc.; electronic rights by Medical Data Exchange.