Bare feet contribute to more foot infections

By Melanie Lawson - The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It might feel good to let your toes get some air, but you have to watch where you plant your bare feet. 

A fungus can creep in quickly if you walk on the wrong surface. If your feet begin to itch or you develop a red rash you might have athlete's foot. 

But if you're careful with your exposed feet, it's actually better to air them out than to keep them warm and moist, stuffed in shoes and socks.

"Not wearing shoes is better for that because it allows your feet to dry out.  It's when you have them in a moist area that you're more likely to get a fungal infection or athletes foot," University of Florida emergency medicine doctor Joseph Sabato said.

Another problem people find hard to ignore in the summer is fungus under the nail.  It can make your nail thick and discolored.  

Fungus develops more often in toenails rather than fingernails.  It's usually caused when there's a small break in the nail allowing the fungus to enter. Your doctor can prescribe a powerful oral medication to treat the fungus but beware of over the counter remedies doctor's say they won't cure the infection. 

"It's not something that responds well because it's an area that doesn't get a lot of blood supply to it, so from the surface it's hard to treat," said Sabato.

Athlete's foot is much easier to treat.  You can start at home with a non-prescription anti-fungal medication that's applied directly to the skin.  Your doctor can also prescribe an antibiotic if you have a severe case.

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