Our fraternity house bathroom in college was a disaster. 15 guys and only 3 shower stalls created a perfect incubator for many unidentified bacterial strains that amazingly did not deter return customers, shower hookups, or the occasional party that put this lavatory nightmare on display. One of the most common results of showering in this contaminated environment was contracting athletes foot which causes itchy, flaky, and scaly skin. Though you could be a 250 lb. couch potato with fitness habits that rival Al Roker's circa 1999, you could still catch the fungal infection commonly associated with athletes that work up a good sweat. Even after medicated help from over the counter topical creams you might be susceptible to catching the itchy nuisance again because of its continual reintroduction.
I've created a guide for the newbies out there perhaps contemplating gym memberships or entrance into a half way home who will eventually be exposed to conditions favoring funguses like A.C. because of communal showering conditions. The following few steps are the best known preventive measures to protect you precious feet but may not be the most effective and certainly do not grant immunity. Use at your own risk!
1. Wear Shower Shoes: Shower shoes or flip flops add a layer of protection between your feet and shower floors. Normally bathrooms are moist and warm creating the perfect environment for funguses to thrive on surfaces not kept completely dry. Shower shoes are the first step to avoiding direct contact with areas potentially harboring this enemy of your tosies.
2. Dry Your Feet: If you're like me you're constantly on the run because life is simply just too http://www.nols.edu/courses/locations/alaska/akbackpacking.shtml busy. So many beers, not enough time! Sometimes bathing becomes a NASCAR-like pit stop that is performed with a stopwatch in mind. It is crucial to take your time drying off especially when it comes to your feet. Putting a pair of socks and then shoes on without careful drying is like adding tequila to a biker party. Something crazy is going to happen and if it's not a breakout of fungus foot then it's leather vest brawl that ends with an episode of Cops.
3. Use Medicated Powders or Sprays: The good folks at Dr. Scholls have created an vast array of products aimed at helping us fight the fungus battle. Using a medicated spray or powder after drying your feet can add yet another layer of protection while killing any fungus that may have already climbed aboard.
4. Rotate Your Shoes: I have 2 pairs of tennis shoes I regularly workout in. If you sweat like me then you'll probably also need at least two pairs because your shoes absorb a ton of sweat and quite a while to dry because of the materials used to pad your foot. Rotating shoes can give them an opportunity to air out decreasing fungus's ability to reproduce.
5. Avoid Filthy Bathing Environments: Stuck in the fraternity house because the dorms were just too expensive I was unfortunately forced to hose off in a cess pit. If you are able to avoid filthy bathing environments you'll give yourself a better chance at avoiding this whole problem altogether. I mean imagine the very worst showering places you can think of... prison, homeless shelter, garbage man locker room. Enough said!