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HSE Schemes explained


ATHLETES' FOOT

This is a fungal infection caused by the fungus, Tinea pedis. Warm, moist conditions give the fungus the best chance for growth. Athletes' foot looks like itchy, flaky skin in the web spaces between the toes. As the fungus grows these flakes become white and begin to peel off. Skin under the scales is red and may be itchy or sore.

If left alone, the skin between the toes can become badly broken and painful, inflamed and sore. Broken skin can lead to bacterial infection, which is a more serious condition (this would appear weeping with pus or yellow crusts). The web space between the 4th and 5th toes is the most commonly affected. The condition may spread to the sole of the foot and even to the upper surface. It looks different to eczema and dermatitis in that these do not affect the web spaces between the toes.We recommend the treatment detailed below. This treatment usually works within 2 weeks.

Treatment:
We recommend anti-fungal powder and cream used together. Products containing an effective anti- fungal will kill the fungus causing the problem within days, and then the symptoms will disappear. The powder kills the fungus and also removes moisture (fungi live best in warm, moist conditions), while the cream stays in continual contact with the skin also killing the fungus.

The feet must be clean and dry before application of these preparations. Surgical spirit can be used to bathe the feet before applying these preparations. The cream is applied first and then the powder. Treatment must be continued after the symptoms have gone to get rid of the fungus. Treatment can continue with the powder alone indefinitely. Particular attention should be paid to the spaces between the toes when applying the cream and powder.

Treatment Advice and Aftercare:

The feet should be washed, dried and treated twice each day to achieve best results.

REMEMBER that drying between the toes is one of the most essential points of treatment.

Odour Eaters are a most effective deodorant insole containing activated charcoal. These absorb perspiration from sweaty feet and so prevent the warm moist conditions in which the athletes' foot fungus thrives. In this way the fungus doesn't get the opportunity to recur and athletes' foot is indefinitely prevented. They are also very comfortable.

The treatment detailed above is only suitable if treating simple fungal infection and is not suitable if the condition has become infected by bacteria also as described earlier. In the case of bacterial infection seek medical advice.

Diabetic patients should not treat athletes' foot until they discuss the condition with a doctor, a pharmacist or a staff member at their diabetic clinic.

If, after following the above treatment advice, the condition persists you should discuss it with a healthcare professional.

Practical points to help avoid re-infection:
- Foot wear- synthetic shoes make it impossible for moisture to evaporate, creating the hot moist environment fungi love. We advise that leather shoes be worn as much as possible in order to allow skin to breathe naturally.
- For the same reason cotton rather than nylon socks should be used, and changed and washed daily to prevent re-infection.
- Feet must be washed and dried thoroughly, especially between the toes, before applying the anti-fungal cream and powder.
- Athletes' foot is passed on by walking barefoot on changing room floors that are moist and wet (wear rubber sandals).

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