Back to school, back to the locker room: athletes foot, jock itch return Players, parents can visit virtuwell.com online clinic to treat athletic infections SAINT PAUL, Minn. – August 16, 2013 – Back to school means back to sports – and that means back to environments like locker rooms are breeding grounds for infections like athlete’s foot and jock itch. Anyone showing symptoms of either ailment can use virtuwell.com for treatment and prevent them from recurringall while saving time in their busy school year schedule. Athlete’s foot is spread by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person and pets infected with a fungus. It affects the skin between the toes, soles of feet and sometimes other parts of the foot. “Athlete’s foot is highly contagious,” said Pat Courneya, MD, medical director for virtuwell.com. “Locker rooms, communal showers, and saunas commonly used before and after a workout are highly conducive to growing and spreading this fungus.” Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, stinging, burning, redness, scaly skin, cracking or peeling skin. At virtuwell.com, nurse practitioners can confirm a case of athlete’s foot based on symptoms that the consumer describes in an online interview, in addition to patient provided photos uploaded securely online. From there, the nurse practitioner can determine the best course of treatment for infection. Mayo Clinic recommends the following for prevention of athlete’s foot: • Keep your feet dry, especially between your toes. • Wear socks that are made of natural material like cotton or wool. • Change your socks regularly, especially if your feet sweat a lot (at least twice a day). • Alternate shoes. • Wear waterproof sandals or shower shoes in communal showers, pools, fitness centers. • Don’t share shoes. Another well-known locker room infection is jock itch – commonly spread from person to person by shared use of contaminated towels, clothing, or through direct contact during sexual intercourse with someone who has the infection. It, too, is caused by a fungus. Symptoms of jock itch include: • Itching and redness to the groin area, including genitals, inner thighs and buttocks • Burning sensation in affected areas • Flaking, peeling, or cracking skin in your groin The athlete’s foot infection can also spread to the groin and result in similar, uncomfortable symptoms in this sensitive area of the body. Mayo Clinic recommends the following for prevention of jock itch: • Bathe daily • Stay dry • Wear clean clothes- change underwear once a day or more often if you sweat a lot • Stay cool- don’t wear thick clothing About virtuwell.com virtuwell® (www.virtuwell.com) is a 24/7 online clinic developed by HealthPartners. Designed from a consumer perspective, virtuwell delivers a refreshingly simple and affordable health care experience. More than 40 common conditions like sinus and bladder infections are treated at virtuwell, including minor skin conditions like acne and rashes through the easy picture sharing experience. If needed, prescriptions are sent electronically to the customer’s pharmacy. Since its 2010 launch, virtuwell has treated tens of thousands of customers and 9 out of 10 would recommend to family or friends. About HealthPartners Founded in 1957, HealthPartners (www.healthpartners.com) is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation. It is dedicated to improving the health of its members, patients and the community. HealthPartners provides a full-range of health plan services including insurance, administration and health and well-being programs. Since its combination with Park Nicollet in 2013, its care system includes more than 1,700 physicians; five hospitals; 52 primary care clinics; 22 urgent care locations; and numerous specialty practices in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
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