Wednesday, February 28

Is trench foot a fungal infection?

Humans are indeed marvel creatures living on this earth. Many organs and the body part forming a number of body systems helps humans to live and survive. Humans are not the only creatures to exist and humans do live along with many other creatures such as microorganisms and animals. Since humans do live together with other creatures such as microorganisms, humans are susceptible to infection. There are many medicines aimed to fight infection but the question now is, is trench foot a fungal infection?

          First and foremost, what is trench foot? Trench foot is one of the three subclasses of immersion foot. Trench food it caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperature, usually above freezing point and damp. It is alco can be caused when the feet are wet for long period of time and in unsanitary condition. Hence, trench foot is not a fungal infection but it can understandable why it may be mistaken as one since the appearance of trench foot is similar to fungal infection of the foot. Trench foot may be mistaken as fungal infection because in the severe case of trench foot, it does lead to a risk of infection which includes fungal infection. Trench foot causes the skin and tissue breakdown that increase risk for infection.

          Trench foot is common in soldiers during World War 1. In fact, trench foot was part of the common strategy in warfare on the European front. Soldiers found themselves standing in waterlogged trenches at the front for a long period of time. This makes them exposed to the wet, cold and muddy conditions favouring the trench foot development. It is estimated that trench foot contributed to the deaths of 2000 American and 75 000 British soldiers. Ironically, it was first described in 1812 by a French army surgeon during the retreat of Napoleon’s army from Russia.

          This shows that trench foot has been around for centuries but the fact that it is not commonly known in our society is because we rarely get involved with conditions leading the feet to be exposed to wet conditions for a long time. Trench foot is common to be found within military personnel but can also be found in the homeless population due to prolonged exposure to moist and cold environments. Do you know that recently, those going for musical festivals for days and on a large scale also are reported with trench foot?

          Trench foot can occur even without freezing temperatures. The feet can be affected in temperatures up to 16-degree Celsius. With addition of moisture on top of the environmental condition, the destruction and deterioration of the capillaries function led to degradation of the surrounding tissue. The changes if the blood vessels function lead to tissue damage.

          Symptoms of trench foot include tingling and/or itching, pain, numbness, feeling heavy in the food, swelling, cold and blotchy skin. In some cases, the feet become from white to red, dry and painful when a person is out in the warm. Formation of blisters and dying tissue falling off can be found. Trench foot usually develops after being exposed in condition for 1 to 2 days. Some people may develop symptoms as fast as an hour after exposure whereas some may take up to a week before symptoms are exhibited. In severe cases, trench food may involve the toe, heel or even the entire foot. If left untreated, it could lead to gangrene, dying of the tissues which often ends up with amputation procedures to remove it.

          Trench feet need to be treated immediately. A healthcare professional can detect the trench foot and determine its severity. Immediate effect from trench foot can be alleviated by slow passive rewarming of the affected feet and with prescription of pain medication. Treat the affected part by applying a warm pack or soaking warm water for about 5 minutes. Before warming the feet, make sure to remove the person away from cold and wet environments. Avoid walking on trench foot as this may cause more tissue damage. Check for signs of infections at least once a day if you do have a foot wound apart from the trench foot.

          The best treatment for trench foot is prevention. If you are about to go somewhere that is confirmed with a cold or wet environment, make sure to be ready for such outdoor activities. This includes wearing boots that fit well, removing shoes and socks twice a day to keep the feet dry, massage the feet when not wearing any shoe gears and keep the body warm. Always remember to keep the feet out of the water and mud whenever possible. If you already experience any numbness or tingling of the feet, do address the issue immediately.

          In essence, trench foot is not a fungal infection but a severe case of trench foot can definitely lead to fungal infection. The best way to treat trench foot is to prevent it from becoming one. It is important to treat trench foot early on and to leave it untreated can lead to infections and amputations.

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