'Trench Foot 2023': TikTok videos show Burning Man attendees walking barefoot in the mud. Here's how to avoid contracting the condition in damp environments.

  • Burning Man attendees are posting videos walking barefoot in the mud that's bogged down the event.

  • So many videos have circulated that social media users are calling the event "Trench Foot 2023."

  • Trench foot, per the CDC, occurs when feet are wet for long periods of time. Here's how to avoid it.

Burning Man took a turn for the worse this weekend after heavy rain trapped thousands of attendees in unnavigable mud.

After heavy rain Friday night, organizers advised visitors to shelter in place and conserve food and water. On Saturday, police opened an investigation into one person's death, The New York Times reported. Some people — including Diplo and Chris Rock — were able to leave the area on foot.

And while rumors of an Ebola outbreak were swiftly shut down, social media users now worry attendees could contract a different malady: Trench foot.

Onlookers have dubbed the event "Trench Foot 2023"

In many TikTok videos posted from the swampy festival, people on the ground in Black Rock City can be seen wandering about the site barefoot — and onlookers have begun raising concerns for their feet.

In one video, posted Saturday, a TikTok user shows barefoot festivalgoers lined up for breakfast, their feet sinking into ankle-deep mud.

Of the hundreds of comments, several raised concerns about trench foot.

"Get ready for trench foot soldiers," one person commented, followed by a saluting emoji.

In another video, a woman said her dad was "stuck in the apocalyptic trenches" after reportedly spending $7,000 on the festival. The video shows the man's feet, which are caked in mud.

In a follow-up comment, the original poster said she'd encouraged her dad to wear shoes after learning about "playa foot" — a "chemical burn" that occurs in the Black Rock Desert, according to Burning Man's website.

Burning Man's website encourages attendees to keep their feet "covered as much as possible" to avoid contracting playa foot.

What is trench foot?

According to the CDC, trench foot "occurs when the feet are wet for long periods of time." Symptoms of trench foot can include tingling, itching, pain, swelling, cold and blotchy skin, numbness, and a prickly or heavy feeling in the foot.

Feet may appear red, dry, and painful, per the CDC. Then blisters may form, "followed by skin and tissue dying and falling off."

To avoid developing trench foot, the CDC recommends air-drying and elevating your feet, and replacing wet socks and shoes with dry ones.

If you've already contracted trench foot, you can treat it by doing the following:

  • Thoroughly clean and dry your feet.

  • Put on clean, dry socks daily.

  • Treat the affected part by applying warm packs or soaking in warm water (102° to 110° F) for approximately 5 minutes.

  • When sleeping or resting, do not wear socks.

  • Obtain medical assistance as soon as possible.

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