Have your kids been complaining about itchy, red, cracking, or peeling feet? They could have the fungal infection tinea pedis, or athlete's foot. Though you may be thinking, is athlete's foot really contagious in children? Unfortunately, the condition can affect people of any age, and in many ways, children can be even more susceptible.
Does your child play sports, like to walk around barefoot in common areas such as locker rooms and pools, or come into contact with the shoes or towels of others? These factors, particularly when combined with poor foot care habits can make it easy for the foot fungus to take hold.
While athlete’s foot in kids can cause them to feel self conscious and uncomfortable, there are many things you can do to start alleviating their symptoms and preventing athlete's foot from coming back — starting with preventing athlete's foot in the first place.
Athlete’s Foot in Kids — Prevention Tips
Your kid, like many others may not know what has caused their foot infection. Luckily, with a bit of guidance and a few simple tips, it’s pretty easy for your child to prevent athlete's foot from popping up.
1. Have your child wear flip flops in communal locker rooms and showers
One of the most important factors in athlete's foot prevention is avoiding bare-foot contact with damp communal surfaces. This is why establishing a routine of wearing flip flops or shower shoes when at the gym, pool, or school locker room is vital.
Tuck a pair of clean flip flops in their gym bag before they head off to practice or a public pool, and insist that they wear them when showering or changing in communal spaces. This way they’ll be protecting their feet from coming into contact with the fungus.
If they seem a bit hesitant, try buying them a pair of flip flops in their favorite color or with their favorite TV or movie character so that they feel better about wearing them in public in front of their friends.
2. Show them how to follow a good foot care routine
Healthy happy feet start with a regular foot care routine. If you think your kids might be neglecting their feet, help them find some fun ways to keep their feet clean and free of foot fungus.
Remind them that they need to wash their feet daily with gentle soap and warm water. If they are not thrilled by the idea, help make it a more enjoyable or relaxing experience by suggesting they use their favorite bubble bath. You could also try giving them fun bars of soap that come in different shapes and colors to encourage the habit.
Once they’ve cleaned their feet, it’s key that they then dry them properly, paying close attention to the gaps between each of their toes. Often kids will want to know why they are doing something. So, explaining that they need to dry their feet carefully to prevent foot fungus could help keep them motivated.
3. Explain that sharing isn’t always caring!
While you’ve probably spent lots of time trying to encourage your kids to share their things with friends and family members explain to them that when looking after their feet, it’s not the time to share personal items.
Towels, shoes, socks, and nail clippers are all easy ways for the fungus to spread to other people. Make sure that your kids understand that it’s best not to borrow these kinds of personal items from others or let others borrow theirs.
4. Help them choose high-quality footwear that fits them properly
Kids often want the latest pair of sneakers to show off in front of their friends. But to keep their feet healthy, it’s important that these shoes fit them properly and don’t cause any unnecessary problems.
When you take your kids to the shoe store, ensure that you guide them through the fitting process. Their shoes should have enough wiggle room that their feet can breathe easily and move around a bit.
It is always best to buy shoes that are a bit loose than ones that are too tight. This is particularly true for growing feet that will likely feel squished into a tighter pair of shoes in only a matter of months. So far as material, leather is preferable because it is a more breathable material than synthetic plastic materials.
If you’re looking for some additional tips on how to prevent athlete’s foot, make sure to read our detailed guide.
Best Treatment for Athlete's Foot in Kids
Athlete’s foot cream is the best option for treating the fungal foot infection. You can find a variety of over the counter creams to treat the infection which generally take between 7 days and several weeks to eradicate the foot fungus. If your kids are 12+ years of age, Silka Ⓡ Antifungal Cream is the most reliable option.
Most athlete’s foot creams contain azoles as their main active ingredient. For these treatments to work effectively they need to be applied consistently up to twice a day for as much as four weeks. It can be hard for kids to remember this routine and stick to it for such a long time.
Silka Ⓡ Antifungal Cream is a terbinafine cream, which works in a different way that reduces treatment time to just 1 week. Want to know more about different athlete’s foot treatments? Check out our post, Choosing the Right Athlete's Foot Treatment.
If you have very young kids, the condition is severe, or it is not responding to treatment, make sure to consult your medical provider or a podiatrist who can provide you with individualized advice. https://blog.getsilka.com/how-to-prevent-athletes-foot