Fungal Infection Of The Skin
Fungal organisms cause different types of infections in humans. When a fungal organism lives in a person’s skin without crossing the outer layer of the skin, it is known as a fungal infection of the skin or cutaneous fungal infection. It is more common in the skin areas that contain folds and sweat. Let us read in detail about the types of fungal infection of skin and ways to prevent them.
What Does A Fungal Infection Of The Skin Look Like?
Your physician might suspect a fungal infection of skin if your skin has red, scaly or irritated rash. Skin scraping test will be recommended by the doctor where a small amount of the skin sample is scraped and sent to the laboratory. This test helps to identify whether it is a fungal infection and the type of fungus. Depending on the type of fungus and the part of the body affected, the appearance of the fungal skin infection varies.
What Are The 4 Types Of Fungal Infections Of The Skin?
Athletes foot, jock itch, ringworm and yeast infections are the four most common fungal skin diseases. The type of fungal infection of skin depends on the part of the skin which is affected.
1. Athletes foot:
Athletes’ feet are characterized by an intense pain, itching, scaling and redness. It occurs due to the fungal species that you may get exposed to in swimming pools, changing rooms or showers. Once the fungus infects your feet, the warm, sweaty environment due to shoes and socks that you wear provides an ideal breeding ground for the fungus to grow. Some of the most common symptoms of athlete's foot include:
- Scaling of skin in between toes and fingers
- Redness and swelling of the feet
- Pain and itching in the affected areas
2. Jock itch:
Jock itch is an infection involving genital areas and anal regions caused by a fungal family named dermatophytes. Hair and the outer layer of the skin where sweating occurs are the target areas for this fungus. Symptoms of jock itch include:
- itching and redness in your genital areas
- burning sensation in the affected areas
- cracking and peeling of skin in the genitals and other affected areas of the skin.
This might sound like a worm infection, but ringworm also occurs due to dermatophytes like jock itch. It is scientifically referred to as Tinea corporis. It primarily affects the trunk, arms, neck and legs. This is one of the most commonly occurring fungal skin diseases that spreads frequently in humid regions and immunocompromised patients. Symptoms of ringworm infection include:
- itching and redness in the trunk, scalp, neck, arms or legs
- inflammation of the skin with presence of patches and plaques
- ring-shaped lesions in the skin with scaling.
4. Yeast infections:
Yeast is a fungus naturally present in your skin and digestive system. It is also present in the vaginal areas of a woman. If it grows more than is required, it causes yeast infection in your body called candidiasis. When does yeast become infectious? It happens when your skin is broken and there is too much humidity. Infections also occur when your immune system is weak or you take too many antibiotics. This is because the antibiotics kill the good bacteria essential for your health. Symptoms of yeast infection include:
- Pimple, pus, rash
- Itching and burning in the folds of the skin
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain, patches and scaling
Moisture - The Fungus’s Home:
Fungal skin infection can spread through people, contaminated floors, humidity, and contaminated soil. Several factors lead to fungal skin diseases. The most common causes of fungal skin diseases are excessive sweating, tight clothing, diabetes, improper hygiene, genetics, etc.
Tinea infections are more common and likely to recur in patients with diabetes. Your healthcare provider will analyse for the root causes of fungal infections. such excessive sweating, diabetes, kidney disease, liver dysfunction or weak immune system.
People more involved in sports need to be extra careful as they constantly sweat, use common changing rooms and use shoes and socks regularly. Swimmers who walk near the pool barefoot and swim in contaminated water are at a higher risk of athletes foot infection.
What Is The Best Medicine For Fungal Infection Of The Skin?
If you suspect that you have a fungal infection of the skin, consult your physician to know what type of fungal infection of the skin you have. Don't self medicate. The treatment differs according to the type of fungal infection of the skin and your symptoms.
In Athletes’ feet, if your skin is dry and looks like it could crack any time, you need to apply an antifungal ointment and creams to restore the moisture. On the other hand, if your feet are moist and sweaty, you should try to get rid of excess moisture by washing your feet with cold water and patting them dry.
Common antifungal ointments and creams prescribed for fungal skin diseases are terbinafine, clotrimazole, miconazole, ketoconazole, griseofulvin and nystatin. In some cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications like fluconazole, itraconazole and terbinafine. But oral and systemic antifungal medications will be prescribed only when the topical treatment has not worked for you. Your healthcare provider will prescribe these medications to take once or twice a day for two to four weeks.
In jock itch, the treatment will target to stop the fungus from producing ergosterol hormone. Luliconazole is one topical treatment that requires only once a day application for one week. The treatment depends on the severity of your infection and how well your body is complying to the treatment.
Exercise Self Care And Do Timely Diagnosis And Treatment:
You can incorporate slight changes in your self-care practices to get rid of fungal infections of the skin in the future. By following them, you can prevent the fungal infection from recurring. Avoid tight clothing and avoid the clothing from contacting the affected area of your skin. Allow the skin to dry completely before you wear clothes.
Do not use powders to dry your skin. Ensure that you wear protective footwear in public places and avoid walking barefoot in nearby swimming pools. Do not share clothing or soaps with others. Never purchase and use antifungal medications without your physician’s approval, which can delay the healing process. Be aware and prevent fungal infections.