Your feet are home to 200 fungi
Now that summer is starting, it’s time to get that pedicure to ensure that your feet are in peak condition for flip-flop season. Unfortunately, there's a lot that a cosmetic treatment won't take care of, because your feet could be home to as many as 200 different types of fungi. And roughly half of them could cause infections.
That’s what scientists from the National Human Genome Research Institute discovered during a recent study. Among the more common fungal infections that can develop are yeast infections, which can grow anywhere on the body, causing rashes or itching; athlete's foot, a common fungal infection usually located between the toes; and ringworm, a skin rash that forms a "ring" around normal-looking skin, though it is a fungus and not a worm. While other parts of the body are welcoming to fungi---behind the ears, on the back, the groin area, chest, forearms, nostrils and palms – the feet proved to be the area where the greatest number developed.
The part of the body with the most fungi was the heel with 80 different types of fungi, followed by toenail clippings (60 types) and the toes (40 types). The head contained the fewest types of fungi (only 10).
The researchers, who admitted to being surprised by the sheer number of fungi, said that people with weakened immune systems or those who take antibiotics are more likely to develop fungal infections. They believe that an imbalance of microbes may be the reason that harmful fungi spread.