Saturday - Jun 19, 2021

A Disturbing Finding That You Need to Know about Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot

Walking barefoot in public areas like gym and swimming pools increases the risk for you to get an athlete’s foot. But did you know that according to a recent study, you can also get a fungal infection through your laundry? The study which was published in the International Journal of Dermatology is about the possible effects of domestic laundry on the spread of fungal contamination.

Researchers from Israel, collected socks that are contaminated with fungus and compared it with laundry washed in warm water and the other one in hot water. The researchers found out that socks washed in warm water have 36% contamination while 6% contamination in hot water. This clearly showed that fungus can thrive even in extremely hot temperature and worst, washing your clothes is not a guarantee that the fungus is completely eradicated.

Athlete’s foot is like a rash found on the foot. It is a common form of fungal infection caused by Tenia pedis. The fungus grows on the top layer of the skin and it prefers to thrive in wet and warm places. That’s why the area in between your toes is a perfect place for fungi to grow.

This kind of fungal infection is highly contagious so it can easily spread the fungus. If a person touches an object that is contaminated by the fungus, that person could easily spread the infection to other people. Athlete’s foot can cause an itching and burning pain. The skin may also appear like a crack or it may also peel. The symptom varies depending on the kind of athlete’s foot that you have.

It is also not a guarantee that you will not get an athlete’s foot if you already had it before. The infection may recur as long as you come in contact with the disease agent. Thus, the study was conducted to also find out why this type of fungal infection is very hard to control. Probably, the reason why you are getting an infection again and again is because you’re doing laundry the wrong way.

What makes Athletes foot worse is that the infection is not only confined to your feet but you can also spread the infections in other areas like having toe nail infections caused by Tinea unguium. Or you may have jock itch caused by Tinea cruris. The unbearable itching and scaling caused by the fungus paved way for Israeli researches to conduct the study.

There were 81 people who participated in the study. They all have confirmed cases of toe nail infection or athlete’s foot. The participants were asked to wear socks for six hours and then they were also asked to donate the contaminated socks to the researchers. Three fabric samples were taken each from the toe area and heel area.

The first fabric samples where cultured in the laboratory to identify the microbial agent or pathogens involved. The second fabric samples were washed at 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit which is the typical temperature of warm water. The third fabric sample was washed in 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit which is typical temperature of hot water. The researchers used detergent and a washing machine to wash the fabrics.

The result showed that the unwashed sock has 85% fungal contamination which means fungi can be transferred easily from foot to fabric. Socks washed at 140 F showed 6% positive for fungal infection which means hot water is effective in killing fungi. Socks washed at 104 F showed that 36% positive for contamination which means that even if you use warm water and detergent, it is still not effective in totally eliminating the fungus.

The results were significant because it showed that infection can easily be spread from fabric. It also showed that even if you use warm water there is still a high probability that you can spread the infection in other patches of fabric. What makes it more disturbing is that a contaminated sock can easily spread the foot infection to other clothes included in the laundry.

Thus, for you to be able to eliminate the spread of infection, you should use hot water temperature in washing socks or clothes that are contaminated with fungal infection. You should also separate the contaminated socks with the rest of your clothes to prevent the spread and recurrence of infection. Putting your contaminated socks in boiling water can help reduce the chance of this fungal to survive.

If you go for swimming or you are in a locker room in a public place, make sure to wear slippers or footwear so you can avoid contact with the fungi. Washing your hands regularly may also help. Athlete’s foot can be prevented by proper hygiene and making sure that you clean your personal things like socks, clothes, and shoes very well. Since Athletes foot is highly contagious, being extra cautious is needed to prevent the spread of infection.