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Athlete's foot is a common and stubborn fungal infection affecting mainly your feet and nails (but also fingers and hands). Because the fungus thrives in warm moist areas it is often picked up in swimming pools and changing rooms or by sharing towels and bathmats. The most obvious signs are dry flakes of skin between the toes and over the feet with redness, itching and possibly oozing in moist areas. When nails are affected they will thicken and discolour and may crumble. Because the fungus prefers moist areas, the main method of prevention is to keep your feet well ventilated with clean footwear and shoes made from natural materials, and to manage your contagion risk in pools, saunas and gyms.
Foods & herbs for the home
- Garlic is strongly anti-fungal and can decrease local fungal levels when applied daily. Add a whole clove of garlic to a little oil and allow it to sit for a few days. You can rub this oil into the skin a few times a day. Or simply add a single drop of Garlic essential oil to a foot cream and use at night.
- Many essential oils have anti-fungal properties and Tea Tree essential oil has renown in this area; once again use a little of the neat essential oil diluted in a cream.
- Including a range of antibacterial oils into your daily bath routine will soothe and calm inflamed skin.
- It is important that your skin can breathe but modern fabrics often prevent this. At the very least ensure that your feet are exposed to air as often as possible and try to use natural fibres in footwear (difficult with tights and stockings, we know).
- You can add powdered herbs such as lavender to your socks.
- Dry your feet and toes really well after using public areas such as showers and pools and endeavour to use flip flops or canvas shoes when you are in high contagion areas.
Additional help is available by phoning the free product advice line at Herbs Hands Healing between the hours of 9.00am to 1.00pm. Tel: 01379 608201.
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To learn more about natural healing for this and other ailments, visit Dr Richard Schulze's blog.
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