In addition to being itchy and uncomfortable, fungal infections can also be contagious. So, if you’ve come down with athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm or any other common fungal infections, it behooves you to avoid spreading them. Fortunately, preventing the spread of fungal infections is much easier than some of us make it look. Anyone looking to prevent fungal infections from spreading to friends and family members would do well to heed the following pointers.
Don Protective Footwear
Even if you’re accustomed to walking around your residence barefoot, you’re going to have to break this habit when dealing with athlete’s foot. Making your way around your home with bare feet increases the likelihood that the people with whom you cohabitate will come down with foot fungus. So, no matter how much you hate wearing socks at home, you’ll need to suck it up and cover up your feet until such time as they’re completely free of fungus.
Additionally, if you share your bed with a partner, make a point of wearing socks to bed, regardless of how uncomfortable you may find this. For added protection, consider outfitting your bed with antimicrobial bed sheets.
If you frequently visit places where people regularly go barefoot – such as pools and gyms – you can avoid spreading athlete’s foot to other patrons by donning protective footwear. In addition to keeping your socks and shoes on at the gym, take care to don sandals or flip-flops in locker rooms and locker room showers.
Don’t Share Clothing, Towels or Other Personal Items
Even outside of fungal infections, sharing clothing, towels and other personal items is far from sanitary. For example, using someone else’s unwashed towel or wearing their unwashed clothing is liable to expose you to bacteria, sweat and assorted grime. Needless to say, if you’re suffering from a fungal infection, sharing such items is even more off-limits, regardless of how familiar you are with someone or how unafraid of fungal infections they claim to be.
In addition to never sharing towels and clothing, make a point of washing all of your clothes and towels after each use. Reusing unwashed clothing and towels can result in fungal infections, staph infections and other health issues. So, even if laundry is among your least favorite chores, it needs to become a priority.
You should also avoid sharing footwear, especially if you’re contending with foot fungus. Conversely, even if your feet are fungus-free, wearing someone else’s shoes can quickly change that.
Don’t Wait to Treat Existing Infections
Fungal infections generally don’t go away on their own, regardless of how much you might want them to. This means that the longer you wait to treat one, the more serious it’s likely to become – and the more likely it is to spread. So, instead of leaving an infection alone and simply hoping for the best, make a point of addressing any fungal infections you come across posthaste.
Fortunately, many fungal infections can be effectively – and cost-effectively – stamped out with the aid of affordable over-the-counter medications. Virtually any pharmacy you come across will sell a wide variety of antifungal creams, sprays, powders and ointments that are designed to eradicate fungal infections in a timely manner. If this is your first time treating a fungal infection, ask a pharmacist or doctor which type of OTC medication is most likely to produce the desired results. Should over-the-counter treatments prove ineffective, schedule an appointment with your doctor or a good dermatologist to discuss possible next steps.
Keep Your Hands Clean
To help ensure that you don’t spread the infection through touch, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after touching the affected area. Additionally, since many over-the-counter medications need to be manually applied to fungal infections, it is imperative that you give your hands a vigorous scrub after each application – not just because of the potential for infecting others, but to cleanse your hands of any chemicals found in the medicine.
Dealing with a fungal infection is no picnic. Not only are you contending with burning and itchiness, you’re also running the risk of spreading the infection. However, while many fungal infections are contagious, they’re also very easy to avoid spreading – provided, of course, you’re willing to take the proper precautions. So, if your goal is to contain any fungal infections that are currently creating problems for you, put the tips discussed above to good use.