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What is Athlete’s Foot?
A common fungal infection that affects both men and women, Athlete’s Foot is characterized by redness of the feet, flaking, burning, and itching on the sole area and between toes. In severe cases, blisters happen.  Although medical experts have different opinions on how athlete’s foot is transferred, most doctors believe that the primary mode of transportation is through direct contact. However, factors like immune system and your foot hygiene influence your susceptibility to contracting the fungal condition. Since Athlete’s Foot is contagious, it may spread to other parts of the body such as scalp and groin. Athlete’s Foot may not generate deadly panic and fear but it can be annoying, uncomfortable and embarrassing.
10 Natural Ways to Beat Athlete’s Foot
Anti-fungal pills, topical creams and powders are widely utilized as the pharmaceutical treatment modality for Athlete’s Foot. Then there are several natural methods considered beneficial in preventing the spread of the condition and getting rid of the fungus.
1. Vinegar – Vinegar is considered a classic household staple. A common home remedy for Athlete’s Foot, vinegar produces a hostile environment for the fungus by altering the pH of the skin.  There are various methods on how to utilize vinegar to lessen the itchiness and scaling. One, you soak your feet with vinegar diluted with water for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day for 10 consecutive days, or until symptoms subside. Another is to soak a cotton ball with vinegar and rub it directly over the affected area. Bringing a spray bottle containing vinegar comes handy when travelling or outdoors, then spray once itchiness starts. As to the type of vinegar to use, white and apple cider vinegar are what the experts recommend.
2. Garlic – The effectiveness of garlic against Athlete’s Foot is not a mere intelligent guess. In fact, even doctors believe that people with Athlete’s Foot benefit with garlic because of its proven scientific studies. Known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, garlic has a special compound called ajoene which is believed to be responsible fighting against the causative agent of Athlete’s Foot. This was clearly seen in a study in 2000  wherein a class of subjects was subjected to garlic solution as treatment for the said condition whereas another group was given Lamisil, a popular antifungal drug. Those who used garlic solution for their Athlete’s Foot had 100% cure rate compared to the other group’s 94%.
3. Yogurt – The live acidophilus bacteria present in Yogurt are not only good for the stomach, but also for feet infected with Candida-based conditions.  Forget the flavored yogurts in the commercial ads, those are loaded with flavorings and sugar which may create a favorable environment for fungi to thrive better. If you find yourself seeing symptoms of Athlete’s Foot, stock up your kitchen cabinet with plain yogurts. Dab a thick spread of yogurt to the affected area for several minutes and rinse off once dry.
4. Lavender – Sick of the unattractive-smelling home remedy solutions for Athlete’s Foot? Then here is lavender oil to rescue you and your sick foot. This essential oil was tested at a university in Portugal and researchers found that even in low concentrations, lavender oil has highly potent antifungal properties.  The proponents of the study are not sure how the mechanism exactly works, but it is thought that the presence of the compound alpha-pinene in lavender oil is the reason why Athlete’s Foot cannot withstand being in the same spot with this essential oil.
5. Tea Tree – A study conducted in Royal Alfred Hospital in Australia discovered that tea tree oil is an effective proponent in alleviating itchiness, scaling, burning sensation and inflammation caused by Athlete’s Foot.  Try applying a few drops of oil (diluted) to clean and dry toes. You could also try making a simple foot bath and adding a few drops of tea tree to the warm water.
6. Epsom Salts – When taken orally, Epsom salts are expected to treat heartburn and constipation, and if injected, it can prevent seizures. Dissolve Epsom Salts (hydrated magnesium sulphate crystals) in warm water and use as a foot bath. 
7. Aloe Vera – For years, aloe vera gained popularity as a soothing and moisturizing skin care product. From burns to rashes, aloe vera is every woman’s dresser staple. You might be thinking why would we increase the moisture level in an already fungal-infected foot? In severe cases of Athlete’s foot, blisters are formed and the microorganism might penetrate your body deeper. If your Athlete’s foot has gone worst and is too painful to walk, soothe your feet with a dollop of aloe vera. Dry, cracked and vesicated feet can benefit a lot from aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic and antifungal properties. 
8. Baking Soda – The basic function of baking soda against Athlete’s foot is keeping the feet dry, thus preventing the fungus from multiplying. If Athlete’s foot condition is already present, baking soda can also help block off the moldy odor caused by the infection. Sprinkle baking soda on the soles of your feet and inside your shoes to gain the said benefits.
9. Diet Modification – The contents of your kitchen can contribute if you are a likely victim of athlete’s foot. Fungus feed on sugar  and if your current diet lives on cookies, sweet breads, carbonated drinks, cakes and other processed foods, your susceptibility to fungal-related infection is high. Try swapping your love affair to low-sugar fruits like apple and banana and include immune-strengthening supplements like Vitamin C, Zinc and Selenium in your daily meals. Nourish yourself in healthy, low in fructose, glucose and sucrose dishes. This way, you and your body is farther away from getting fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
10. Proper Foot Hygiene – Despite all the protective barriers against fungal infections, if you have a habit of only changing your socks every 3 days and have poor foot hygiene, you are creating conditions that the fungus likes! Pay extra attention to the general welfare of your feet. Dry your feet after washing them thoroughly with soap and water. If you live in a tropical country, wear sandals more often rather than close shoes to invite air flow freely. Also, give the feet some fresh air and a little direct sunlight.
 “Understanding Athlete’s Foot — Treatment.” Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center. WebMD. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-athletes-foot-treatment
 “Vinegar.” Treatment. Diagnose-Me.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.diagnose-me.com/treatment/vinegar.html
 O’Connor, Anahad. “Remedies: Garlic for Athlete’s Foot.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 6 Jan. 2011. Web. 17 July 2013. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/remedies-garlic-for-athletes-foot/
 “Athlete’s foot: symptoms, causes and cures.” Health & Home. Reader’s Digest. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.readersdigest.co.uk/health-home/more-things-that-can-go-wrong/athletes-foot-symptoms-causes-and-cures
 “Lavender Oil Is Revealed To Be The Fragrant Way To Give Athlete’s Foot The Boot.” Sports. Mail Online. N.p., 15 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 July 2013. Lavender oil is revealed to be the fragrant way to give athlete’s foot the boot Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1357098/Lavender-oil-revealed-fragrant-way-athletes-foot-boot
 Dowden, Angela. “The wonders of Tea Tree oil.” Health. Mail Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4018/The-wonders-Tea-Tree-oil.html#ixzz2ZMXoOh8J
 Sahelian, Ray. “Athlete’s Foot cure with natural and alternative methods, is there an effective way to get rid of this condition?” RaySahelian.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.raysahelian.com/athletesfoot.html
 “Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis).” InfiniteAloe Skin Care. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.infinitealoe.com/skincondition/other/atheletsfoot.aspx
 Shenker, Maura. “The Candida Diet & Athlete’s Foot.” Livestrong.com. The Livestrong Foundation, 1 Sept. 2011. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.livestrong.com/article/528511-the-candida-diet-athletes-foot/
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