As a member of the health industry, it’s easy to stay focused on life-threatening and life-altering conditions… but sometimes we have to turn our attention to everyday discomforts.
Athlete’s foot and jock itch won’t kill you, but they sure can make you uncomfortable. And they’re embarrassing, to boot. You don’t want to spend half the night awake continuously dealing with the itch between your toes. And jock itch can have you scratching involuntarily during the wrong social moments, as well.
Both of these annoying conditions are caused by the same fungus, the tinea fungus. Tinea infections on the feet are called tinea pedis or athlete’s foot. Infections in the groin area are called cruris. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments… like a locker room, for example. Tinea is spread through contact. You can get it from walking on the floor barefoot where someone with the fungus has also walked or from sharing equipment or clothes.
Fortunately, tinea infections are easy to prevent and easy to treat.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventing athlete’s foot and jock itch is usually a simple affair. Just follow these three steps.
1. Bathe your feet regularly. Use soap between the toes. Also bathe the groin area regularly.
2. Keep these areas clean and dry.
3. Wear comfortable socks and loose-fitting briefs. Choose natural fibers like wool and cotton.
You might also want to disinfect any bath areas so you are not re-exposed to the fungus. Try wearing flip-flops when using a public or shared shower or bathroom floor.
A Pound of Cure
If prevention fails, you can recognize athlete’s foot or jock itch from the itchy, red, burning rash that develops. Often the skin at the border of the rash gets scaly, and may even blister.
If you do develop either of these conditions, there are several ways to treat them naturally.
Garlic: Garlic contains antifungal compounds that research shows can cure athlete’s foot. Slice a clove of garlic and rub it gently over the infected areas once a day. Or a more practical way to utilize garlic is by sprinkling a little garlic powder into your socks for athlete’s foot—I recommend using a different natural remedy for jock itch.
Menthol: Research also shows that menthol can cure both athlete’s foot and jock itch. Choose a salve like Mentholatum ™ and apply to the affected area. If you have jock itch, be prepared… this is a bit like applying Icy Hot™ to a very sensitive area!
Essential Oils: Orange oil, eucalyptus oil, fennel oil, tea tree oil, juniper oil, peppermint oil, and thyme oil can all help cure fungal infections like athlete’s foot and jock itch.
If none of these treatments work, visit your dermatologist. You may be dealing with something other than the tinea fungus.
By practicing good hygiene you can largely avoid the discomfort and embarrassment of athlete’s foot or jock itch, but even if you do become affected, rest assured that these conditions are easy to cure safely.
Jay Brachfeld M.D.
Photo Credit: webmd