Fungi are a group of organisms, that cause skin infections. Some fungi, called yeasts, are naturally present in human body. Dermatophytes are opportunistic organisms. As they get favorable environment, they grow on human body and infect top layer of the skin as well as nails or hair. Different types of fungal skin infections are ringworm (Tinea corporis), athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis), nail ringworm (Tinea unguium), jock itch (Tinea cruris), beard ringworm (Tinea barbae), scalp ringworm (Tinea capitis) and Candida. Deep fungal infections may spread into blood or internal organs due to invasion through deep layers of skin.
Risk Factors for Fungal Infections
Risk factors for skin fungal infections are listed below:
Antibiotic Use: Antibiotics are used to treat various bacterial infections. These medications can decrease the number of helpful bacteria normally living inside the body. When their population is decreased, fungi get an opportunity to colonize.
Use of Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation and a number of skin disorders. These drugs sometimes reduce our immune response and create favorable conditions for fungal growth.
Medical Conditions: People suffering from diseases such as diabetes and some types of cancer, e.g., leukemia are more prone to fungal infections.
Compromised Immune System: Our immune system may get depressed due to chemotherapy (for cancer treatment) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Because of such weakened immune system, fungi get an opportunity to grow.
Environmental Factors: Moisture is required for fungi to grow and reproduce. Fungal infections more commonly affect the moist areas of body including vagina and mouth. Sweaty shoes and clothes increase possibility of fungal infections. You may get an exposure to skin fungus in high moisture content areas such as locker rooms or showers.
Heredity: Some people have genetic predisposition towards fungal infections. They are more likely to have fungal infections when exposed to infectious atmosphere.
Symptoms of Fungal Skin Infections
Symptoms of skin fungus may vary with a causative agent. Fungal skin infections generally appear as a rash. Ringworm causes ring-shaped, red or pink, slightly itchy patches with a clear center. Jock itch appears as ring-like red rash around the groin area. It is in the form of small, painful, extremely itchy blisters. Athlete’s foot appears as itchy, scaly rash between the toes. There may be mild irritation or cracking and peeling of the skin. Skin becomes sore and susceptible for bacterial infection.
Scalp ringworm is highly contagious among children. Nail ringworm affects toenails and makes the nail appear dull and thickened. Infected part of nail may fall apart from rest of the nail. Candida infection typically occurs in moist and warm areas of the body such as skin folds and diaper areas. Superficial candidal skin infection appears as red, flat rash with scalloped, sharp edges. Small patches appearing like rash are known as satellite lesions. They can cause pain or itching. Sometimes, fungal infection on one body part can cause rash on another body part. This condition is known as an allergic reaction to fungus.
Treatment for Skin Fungal Infections
Depressed immune system, use of antibiotics or corticosteroids and medical conditions like diabetes are predisposing factors for fungal infections. While treating fungal infections, you need to stop use of corticosteroids or antibiotics and control your diabetes. Treating the weakened immune system is important, in order to work the anti-fungal treatment effectively. Skin fungal infections are treated with anti fungal creams and medications.
Find powerful herbal remedies Fungal Infection
Infected area should be kept dry and clean and scratching should be avoided. Use of mild hydrocortisone cream may prove beneficial to relieve itching. New broad-spectrum antifungals recommended for treating skin fungal infections are terbinafine, itraconazole and fluconazole. Medications and therapy regimen are selected on the basis of types and extent of infection. If fungal infection progresses to bacterial infection, then antibiotics are recommended. However, before you opt for any kind of treatment option, it is necessary to seek your doctor’s advice.
Prevention of Skin Fungus
You may adopt some preventive measures to minimize the risk of fungal skin infection. You should keep your skin dry and clean. Wearing loose-fitting clothes is preferable. Avoid sharing hairbrushes, combs and towels as they may contain skin fragments with fungal colonies. To avoid athlete’s foot, you should use alternate shoes every two or three days. Choose natural fibers like cotton, which allows the skin to breathe. Diabetic people should control their blood sugar levels.
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