Bacteria on the Feet
Athlete’s foot, also called tinea pedis, is a fungal infection is the most common type of fungal infection on humans according to the Mayo Clinic. Athlete’s Foot develops in the moist areas on the feet like between toes where causes itching, stinging, and a burning sensation. Athlete’s Foot is a contagious foot fungus which can spread to other parts of the body that come in contact with the infected area or surfaces contaminated by it like towels, floors, socks, and shoes.
Athlete’s Foot Symptoms:
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot include: itching, stinging, and burning between toes or on the soles of feet. Symptoms also include itchy blisters, cracking, peeling skin, excessive dry skin on bottoms or side of the feet, and toenails that are thick, crumbly, ragged, discolored or pulling away from the nail bed.
Athlete’s Foot Treatment:
WebMD suggests using over-the-counter (OTC) nonprescription antifungals to treat Athlete’s Foot first, including these topical medications terbinafine (Lamisil AT), miconazole (Micatin), clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), and tolnaftate (Tinactin). In addition, an article by the U.S. Nation Library of Medicine (NLM) recommends keeping feet clean and dry, washing feet thoroughly with soap and water at least twice per day (and drying them completely), and wearing clean, cotton socks, changing them to keep them dry as necessary. If the OTC medications don’t work within 2-4 weeks of self-treatment, see your doctor for a prescription medication.
Athlete’s Foot Prevention:
Athlete’s foot thrives in moist, warm places, such as between the toes after wearing running shoes or cross trainers to exercise. An article on athlete’s foot by the U.S. NLM offers the following tips to prevent it:
- Dry feet completely after bathing, swimming, cycling, running, or hiking.
- Wear shoes, such as sandals or flip-flops, at a public shower, pool, or gym.
- Change your socks at least once a day to keep feet dry.
- Use antifungal or drying powders to prevent athlete’s foot if you tend to get it or if you go places where athlete’s foot fungus is common (such as public pools and showers).
- Wear well-ventilated running shoes made of natural materials like leather or breathable materials like mesh sneakers. Let shoes dry completely between each time you wear them. Don’t wear plastic-lined shoes.
According to an article by KidsHealth, Staphylococcus aureus are bacteria that many healthy people (about 25 percent) have on their skin and in their noses. The foot can also pick up the bacteria from the floor. Usually the staph bacteria don’t do anything. But if the skin is punctured (or scraped), the staph bacteria may enter the wound and this is what causes a staph infection. Staph infections are contagious if the wound (such as a boil) is open or weeping, according to WebMD. In general, staph bacteria infections are minor. But they can turn deadly, warns the Mayo Clinic, if the bacteria invade deeper into the body, and get into the bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart.
Staph Infection Symptoms:
Because staph infections can vary from minor to major skin infections and serious internal problems, the symptoms also vary widely. According to the health website, HealthHype.com, staph infections can appear as skin infections, infection of the mucous membranes (such as sinusitis, epiglottitis and vaginitis), infections of the glands (such as mastitis and parotitis), staph food poisoning, urinary infections (in men), bone and joint infections, staph pneumonia, bacterial endocarditis, staph meningitis, bacteremia (blood poisoning), sepsis, gangrene and even Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome.
Here, we will focus on staph infection symptoms that relate to the skin. The types of skin infections that can be caused by staph bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic, include red and swollen boils, a painful rash called impetigo, cellulitis (an infection of the deeper layers of the skin), and Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, which occurs as a rash or blisters that, when broken open, leave a red, raw surface on the skin that looks like a burn. If you, or someone else in your family, have a painful area of skin that is red or irritated, pus-filled blisters, a fever, and if the infection is being passed from one family member to another and, especially, if two or more family members have skin infections at the same time, go see your doctor.
WebMD names staph cellulitis as the most common form of staph infection. Typically, staph cellulitis begins as a small area of tenderness, swelling and redness. It can also begin with an open sore or even no break in the skin at all. Sings of this staph bacteria infection include inflammation, redness, warmth, swelling and pain of the skin. Any skin sore or ulcer that has these signs, warns WebMD, may be developing cellulitis. If the infection spreads, the person can also get a fever (sometimes with chills and sweats), in addition to swelling in the sore area.
Staph Infection Treatment:
The main treatment for a staph infection is antibiotics. Over the years, staph bacteria have become more resistant to overused antibiotics, such as penicillin. Now, stronger antibiotics are used in staph infection treatment.
Staph Infection Prevention:
WebMD and the National Center for Biotechnology Information offer the following ways to prevent staph infections:
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
- Clean cuts or minor skin wounds with soap and water. Dry the area completely, treat it with an antiseptic ointment, such as Neosporin®, and keep it covered until it heals.
- Do not share towels or other items that could be contaminated, such as razors.
- Do not come in contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
- Wear shoes in commonly used areas, such as public pools, bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.
- If you have a sore that becomes abnormally painful or red, see a doctor. If red lines develop, the infection may be spreading, and you will need antibiotics right away.
Athletes, especially those playing team sports, can be susceptible to staph infections. Athletes can prevent staph infections by:
- Cover wounds with a clean bandage, and avoid contact with other people’s wounds and soiled bandages.
- Wash hands before and after playing sports. Shower or bathe after exercising.
- Do not share soap or towels with other people.
- If you must share sports equipment, wash it between each usage with an antiseptic solution, then use clothing or a towel between your skin and the exercise equipment.
- Avoid whirlpools or saunas if a teammate has an open sore. Always use clothing or a towel as a barrier in saunas.
- Don’t share splints, bandages or braces.
- Make sure that locker rooms and bathing facilities are clean before using them. Wear water shoes or sandals in shared bathing spaces.
What is the staph infection MRSA?
MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistan Staphylococcus Aureus and it is a type of infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In other words, MRSA is a type of staph infection that will not get better with the antibiotics commonly used to treat staph infections.