It’s no secret that fungal infections are itchy, cumbersome and uncomfortable. But have you developped one while traveling? If the answer is no, lucky you. I’ve had this unpleasant experience and fought a fungal infection on my skin (my right foot, to be precise) during my trip to the USA. So, if you’ll soon be going on a trip which involves a lot of outdoor and “sweaty” activities, follow these advices.
1. Be Mindful of Personal Hygiene Even If It’s Hard
Just because you’re taking a vacation doesn’t mean you’re taking a vacation from proper hygiene… and that’s even if you camp 😉 I camped almost all my way through the USA and finding showers was sometimes a challenge. I tried to use wet wipes to keep myself clean but after strenous hikes, that was not always possible.
So, no matter how chill a vibe you’re going for, make sure to engage in essential grooming activities on a daily basis. That includes brushing your teeth, putting on fresh clothes and bathing every day. The latter two are particularly important when it comes to avoiding fungal infections. Since many fungal infections come about as a result of bacteria and sweat buildup, you just need to shower! 😉 In addition to being the hygienic thing to do, showering every day will help keep you smelling fresh, which is great for you, your travel companions and other people around.
To get the most out of your daily showers, pay special attention to parts of your body that are particularly prone to fungal infections – i.e., your feet (!) and groin area. Furthermore, after ending each shower, take care to thoroughly towel yourself off, as this will get rid of residual moisture, which can pave the way for fungal infections.
2. Don’t Wear Sweaty Clothing for Long Periods
As I learned the hard way, sweat buildup is among the foremost contributors to fungal infections. With this in mind, make sure to avoid wearing sweaty clothing for long periods. It may be a challenge if you hike and camp in hot places (the above photo comes from the Valley of Fire… you can imagine it was hot 😉 ) but always look for opportunities to wash your clothes. It could even be a mountain stream! The longer your body is wrapped in sweat-drenched clothing, the more likely fungal infections are to occur. So, if you’re visiting a warmer location, make a point of changing clothes as needed. Avoiding fungal infections will prove well worth this minor inconvenience.
3. Never Wear Dirty Clothes & Use Every Opportunity To Wash Them
I know, nobody likes doing laundry on vacation. But you should never re-wear clothing that hasn’t been laundered. I actually think my infection started on the day when I forgot to wash my socks, ran out of clean ones and had to re-wear dirty ones that one time! If you don’t think you’ll have time to do laundry or access to laundry facilities while on vacation (but that’s highly unlikely 😉 ), make sure to plan ahead and pack enough clothes to last the duration of your trip.
Additionally, if your trip involves spending a fair amount of time outdoors like mine, consider investing in convenient antimicrobial outdoor gear. That can prove particularly useful during long hikes and camping excursions.
4. Treat Existing Infections Before Heading Out
Fungal infections generally don’t go away in the absence of treatment. I tried waiting for mine to go away… spoiler alert: it didn’t 😉 So, if you’ve been doing the same and ignoring an infection in the hope that it would simply sort itself out, you’re likely to be disappointed. Luckily, most drugstores have large selections of creams, ointments, sprays and other over-the-counter medications that are formulated to eradicate fungal infections in a timely manner. Speak to a doctor and/or dermatologist or try those out. Getting a fungal infection taken care of before your departure date can help ensure that you won’t have to devote a moment of your trip to worrying about existing infections. I decided to go to a doctor with my infection (insurance proved extremely useful then, too!)
To be clear, there’s never a good time to get a fungal infection. Even relatively minor infections bring a tremendous amount of itchiness, discomfort and general unease. However, fungal infections are particularly unwelcome during periods of travel. So, if you’re looking to avoid doing battle with a fungal infection on your next travel excursion, put the advice outlined above to good use. And… happy, healthy travels 🙂