Field biologist describes horrific foot-fungus

Fuzzyatelin, a field biologist, offers graphic and compelling advice on keeping your feet dry during your fieldwork.

1) For frak’s sake, DRY OUT YOUR SOCKS. Put them over the fan over night so that you have 5 precious, precious moments of dryness before stepping out that door into the rain again…

2) Air everything out. For real. I mean everything. If you have electricity, lay in front of a fan in the buff for at least two hours every evening. You think I’m joking… but:

3) When your feet start to bleed - and boy, will they ever - don’t panic. The hole that appears to be eating its way into the space between your 4th and 5th toes on your right foot won’t go any deeper than a full centimeter (you know this because you stuck your finger inside of it and then measured the extent of the bloody seepage on your pinkie finger… the hole is that wide and deep).

4) Ditch the hat. Ditch the hat. Ditch the - oh. Now it’s on your scalp.

It gets worse.

Things I Learned as a Field Biologist #639 (via JWZ)

(Image: Fungi, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from dmclear's photostream)


    1. If you followed the link, you would see this was already mentioned — and it was far funnier than you.

  1. This is why I keep a bag of new/clean/dry socks in my truck. Not for field scientists but for the homeless. They suffer from wet feet and have no electricity to lay in front of. I’ve never had anyone not want a pair or ask for money instead. This might be the best pocket change you could give someone who has to live outside, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest where it’s always damp.

  2. It’s things like this that make me wonder how civilization ever gained a foothold near the equator.

  3. I started to read it and it was cool with it until…

    “The hole that appears to be eating its way into the space between your 4th and 5th toes on your right foot won’t go any deeper than a full centimeter”

    Aaahhhhhh! GAWD!  Holly Jesus on a motorbike! STOP!

  4. Years ago I noticed a number of disturbing circular holes in the soles of my feet.  They were about the size of bbs (width, depth) but they were right through the hardest, most calloused parts of my feet, and their number started to grow, so I went to my NP and she cheerfully diagnosed me with flesh-eating bacteria.

    That variety turn out to be pretty common and far from lethal (she apparently had them as well) and while she suggested I was doomed to a life of Converse and Birkenstocks I’ve found that wearing good socks (Thorlos) and anti-bacterial/moisture wicking inserts has kept them from becoming visible again, even though I wear boots every day.  It is not, however, curable.

    1. Yes it is. Completely sterilize your house and everything in it using bleach or UV’s or some equivalent, then bathe yourself and any other living things in your house with chlorhexadine for 5 days straight. 

      Of course, if it’s endemic in your area, you’ll just get re-infected. 

      1. You laugh, but when I was in 9th grade science class, we could never get anything to grow in a Petri dish from tape samples from my house.

  5. That’s why you should pack some 100 percent tea-tree-oil in your pack.
    That stuff is great on ‘jungle rot’.
    It’s far too over used in household products now because it’s pretty active against resistant staph and fungal infections–and now used in approved burn dressings;  you want to save it until it’s needed to prevent super bugs.

    1. Totally OT, but I pat down with a dab of tea tree oil + lavender on a wash cloth rather than showering daily and instead of smearing antiperspirants / deodorants under me pits. Is this a bad idea? I wish not to foster the super bug you speak of.

      I should mention that I live in the high desert and have no foreseeable plans on visiting the jungle. (Though I may visit Seattle at some point..)

  6. I have a lovely ad for Laser Toenail Fungus Removal showing on the page right now. Thanks, Google.

  7. Same applies to those who work in the jungle for very long stretches. If you might not be able to take off your boots for a week or more, slather cold cream on your feet before you put on your socks.

  8. I got a fucking horrible foot fungus back packing once. Giant, hard and painful growths all over the bottom of my feet. Bleeding between my toes. Peeling skin that would then turn into itchy scabby blisters.

    Despite changing my socks twice a day (and not simply airing socks, but washing them and drying them properly), rubbing anti-fungus cream on every day, etc that horrible painful shit simply did not go away. Not until I reached the beach where I would swim twice a day, and at other times simply soak my feet in the salt water. I kept up the sock changing, I kept up the anti-fungus cream. But I really think it was the salt water that was having the really positive effect. After a few days I was able to wear a pair of thongs/flipflops/jandals without it hurting like crazy as the plastic rubbed between my toes and then things really cleared up quickly.

  9. Am I the only one who thinks the “Ditch the hat! Ditch the hat!…” is  a reference to the 90s “indie” Cap’n Crunch commercial with the two kids who want the Cap’n to stop wearing his hat so that he’s cool with the new kids? No?

  10. [Okay, I’ve completed the 16-step login process and can make my comment.]

    I fondly remember my college microbiology professor, nearly 30 years ago, telling an autobiographical story the moral of which is “You shouldn’t autoclave leather shoes.”

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