SKILLMAN, N.J., June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Whether you're at the beach, pool club, gym, camp, work, or even hanging around the house, there's a good chance you may develop a fungal infection this summer. "Summer heat and humidity brings excess moisture and sweating to our bodies, creating the perfect setting for fungi to grow or fungal infections to develop," says dermatologist Guy Webster, M.D., Associate Professor and Director for Cutaneous Pharmacology at Thomas Jefferson University. "Fungi tend to thrive in warm, moist places, such as between the toes, in the groin, under the breasts, and other parts of the body." One of every five persons gets a fungal infection at some time. Athlete's foot is the most common fungal skin infection in humans and affects an estimated 70 percent of adults. It occurs mostly among teenagers and adult males. Many people will develop it at least once in their lives. Contrary to popular belief, walking barefoot in places like public showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms are not the main causes of athletes foot, but they can be contributing factors. "Sweaty feet, not drying feet well after swimming or bathing, tight shoes and socks which offer no ventilation, and a warm climate present the perfect setting for the fungus that causes athlete's foot to grow," notes Ronald Lepow, D.P.M., president-elect of the American Podiatric Medical Association. Athlete's foot may affect different people in different ways. Symptoms may include cracked, blistered and peeling areas between the toes, redness and scaling on the soles, and intense itching. Athlete's foot may spread to other parts of the foot, including toenails. The fungal infection can also extend to other parts of the body, notably the groin (commonly referred to as jock itch) and underarms, by those who scratch the infection and then touch themselves elsewhere. Proper treatment of a fungal infection depends on the right diagnosis, which makes going to a physician so important, stresses Dr. Lepow. Before treating what you think may be athlete's foot or some other fungal infection, he advises to check with your podiatrist or dermatologist, who can diagnose the condition and prescribe the correct course of treatment. Should you choose to first self-treat your athlete's foot with an over the counter antifungal cream, be advised that some of these products may relieve some symptoms fairly quickly, but don't necessarily alleviate the problem, cautions Dr. Webster. "While your skin may look better and temporarily feel better, the infection can remain for some time afterwards. Athlete's foot is notorious for its high rate of recurrence," he says. If you notice no improvement within two weeks of using an over the counter product, he suggests you call your doctor to determine if a fungus is the cause of the problem. For athlete's foot and other fungal infections such as jock itch and ringworm of the skin, your doctor may prescribe SPECTAZOLE(R) (econazole nitrate 1%) Cream. SPECTAZOLE is a prescription antifungal cream approved for treatment against nine major organisms, including yeast, more than twice as many than most other topical antifungal medications do. In various clinical studies, a majority of patients with moderate to severe athlete's foot experienced early relief of symptoms, high cure rates, and low incidents of relapse following the recommended treatment with SPECTAZOLE. In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe foot soaks before applying antifungal creams. If your athlete's foot is stubborn, antifungal oral medication may be prescribed. While it is not easy to prevent athlete's foot and other fungal infections, both doctors say you can take steps to lessen your chances of infection by following some simple rules: -- Wash your feet daily. -- Dry your feet thoroughly, especially in between your toes. -- Avoid tight footwear, especially in the summer. Sandals are the best warm weather footwear. -- Wear cotton socks and change them daily or more frequently if they become damp. Don't wear socks made of synthetic materials. -- If possible, go barefoot at home. -- Dust an antifungal powder into your shoes in the summertime. "Don't let rashes go untreated," adds Dr. Webster. "Not treating the rash at all can result in skin blisters and cracks that can lead to bacterial infections." During clinical trials, approximately 3% of patients treated with SPECTAZOLE Cream reported side effects thought possibly to be due to the drug, consisting mainly of burning, itching, stinging and erythema (redness). For a free brochure on fungal and yeast infections or further information on SPECTAZOLE(R) (econazole nitrate 1%) Cream, including full U.S. Prescribing Information, call 1-800-426-7762 or e-mail your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about Athlete's Foot, visit the American Academy of Dermatology web site at www.aad.org and the American Podiatric Medical Association web site at www.apma.org.
SOURCE Ortho Dermatological