Ever since childhood, I have been plagued with a problem that constantly recurred, and never knew why.
The problem was Athletes Foot, which is caused by the Tinea Pedis fungus.
No matter how I tried to avoid going anywhere where I was likely to get an infection, no matter what precautions I took in the shower room at school, and the local swimming pool, re-infections were never to be avoided.
Not everybody suffered so much as I did, or at least, if they did, it was not something they wished to talk about. Hardly surprising, in fact, when you consider the nature of the problem. One mention of the fact that you were a sufferer was sure to cause all your friends to give you as wide a berth as possible, until the problem had been dealt with.
Not that there seemed to be an effective way of dealing with it at all. Creams and powders could eliminate the current infection after some perseverance, but it could never be banished completely.
Perhaps I suffered excessively because my feet tend to perspire a lot. This was more obvious during Spring and Summmer, of course, but infections were by no means limited on a seasonal basis – they could strike at any time.
Later I discovered that others could be victims of the same malady. It turned out that Trench Foot has the same cause as Athletes Foot, and became so prolific at that time because of the conditions soldiers were living under in the trenches. It was virtually impossible to keep feet dry, and the fungus took full advantage of the wet environment. Of course, both sides would have been equally affected, our own men and those of the enemy.
Much later, I discovered that under flood conditions, within approximately two days, whole neighbourhoods were striken with the same disease. It seemed extremely unlikely that infections were being passed person to person, so that actual reason for Tines Pedis being so widespread remained a complete mystery.
Until, one day, I read an article on the BBC website entitled “Feet home to more than 100 fungi”.
You can view it yourself at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22622689 for further information.
We carry the problem with us permanently!
Normally, the conditions for proliferation, which leads to an attack of Athletes Foot, are not present. However, as soon as sufficient moisture is available to enable to the fungus to become active, there is nothing to stop it. The first you know about it is an intolerable itch, which is itself a serious indicator, and should not be ignored. Corrective treatment should be started immediately to avoid a full-blown infection with cracked and peeling skin. Furthermore, the cause of the excess moisture must be tracked down and eliminated.
If it should be impossible to keep your feet dry for a number of hours, when it does become possible, wash them and dry them thoroughly. At the first sign of itchiness, apply whatever remedy you have available for Athletes Foot to prevent an infection taking hold.
If you have sweaty feet, consider wearing sandals in warmer weather. Totally enclosed shoes provide an ideal starting point for your next infection when the temperature rises.
Be healthy. Keep your feet DRY!