Tips for Hikers Who Want to Avoid Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections

Like other intense physical activities, hiking can prove conducive to fungal infections as a result of all the sweating it facilities. Of course, this isn’t to say that dedicated hikers should cut back on their favorite form of recreation in order to avoid fungal infections. There are a number of simple – but effective – measures hikers can take to keep athlete’s foot, jock itch, and other common fungal infections at bay. Anyone looking to avoid fungal infections while enjoying the great outdoors will be well-served by the following pointers.

 Bathe After Each Hiking Excursion 

Failure to bathe on a regular basis and the formation of fungal infections go hand-in-hand. In the absence of regular baths and showers, sweat and bacteria are liable to build up, thus resulting in the formation of various fungal infections. Additionally, going on a strenuous hike or engaging in any other workout activity without showering afterward is likely to facilitate body odor issues, which can prove embarrassing in a variety of situations. Given how much sweat the average hike produces, there’s simply no way around showering at the end of every hiking excursion.

When taking a post-hike shower, make sure to pay special attention to the parts of your body where fungal infections are most likely to spring up – i.e., crotch, inner thighs and feet. Furthermore, upon the completion of your shower, take care to dry yourself as meticulously as possible. This will help prevent residual moisture, which can also open the door to fungal infections.   

Promptly Change Out of Sweaty Hiking Clothes 

Even if you’re not in a position to shower immediately after a hike, you’d do well to change out of your sweaty hiking clothes. The longer you leave these clothes on, the more time your skin will spend marinating in sweat and bacteria. So, regardless of whether or not you’re able to bathe in a timely manner, change into a pair of fresh clothes at your earliest possible convenience. Additionally, for maximum protection, seek out antimicrobial outdoor gear and activewear made with antimicrobial technology.  

Don’t Wear Unwashed Activewear 

In addition to promptly changing out of sweaty hiking clothes, you should always avoid wearing hiking clothes that have not been properly laundered. Even if you’ve given your activewear sufficient time to air out, this isn’t enough to purge it of bad smells and assorted bacteria. Wearing unwashed hiking clothes that have accumulated a fair amount of sweat is not only likely to result in the appearance of fungal infections, it’s also unsanitary on a number of levels. So, regardless of how much you dislike doing laundry, you should never don activewear that hasn’t been washed. 

Avoid Sharing Personal Items 

Hikers should also abstain from sharing personal items – such as sweat towels, hiking clothes, footwear and roll-on antiperspirants – in the interest of avoiding fungal infections. Exposing yourself to other people’s sweat and bacteria stands to result in fungal infections, staph infections and a host of other undesirable consequences. No matter how well you know your fellow hikers or how accommodating you wish to be, the sharing of personal items is unlikely to turn out well for anyone. 

Stamp Out Existing Fungal Infections 

Fungal Infections

Hiking or engaging in other workout activities while actively suffering from a fungal infection stands to exacerbate said infection, thus making you even more uncomfortable. As such, it’s recommended that you stamp out existing fungal infections instead of allowing them to linger or assuming they’ll go away on their own. 

Fortunately, many fungal infections can be treated with simple, affordable over-the-counter remedies. Virtually any drugstore you enter will have a plethora of creams, powders, sprays and ointments that are formulated to stamp out fungal infections in a timely manner. Should OTC treatments prove ineffective, speak to a pharmacist or schedule a consultation with your doctor.  

There’s no big mystery as to why fungal infections are so common among people who are physically active. Considering how large a role sweatiness plays in the formation of athlete’s foot, jock itch and other fungal infections, it’s easy to see why exercise is often conducive to their formation. Since hiking is an activity that’s synonymous with physical exertion and sweat production, it behooves hikers to take the appropriate precautions. Fortunately, with the help of the pointers discussed above, this should prove to be anything but difficult.