Fungal Infection – Causes , Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention

FUNGAL INFECTION

Introduction

Fungal infections are pretty common in developing tropical areas due to humid climates and poor hygiene. We shall discuss the Tinea infections further.

Symptoms of fungal infection

Athlete’s Foot

Also goes by the name ‘Tinea pedis’.

Causes of fungal infection

This commonly occurs in individuals who have to frequently wear shoes and socks for a longer duration.

Athletes and school-going children get them often. The organism thrives well in warm and moist areas, making it more common in warmer climates.

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Diabetics, obese individuals, excessive sweating, poor hygiene and immunosuppressed patients are more likely to be affected.

Symptoms

  • Peeling
  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Itching
  • Burning

Types of Athlete’s foot

Inter digital

Presents as soggy, peeling skin over the web spaces in between toes.

It can cause itching and irritation.

Vesicular

Fluid-filled blisters known as vesicles are present over the base of feet. They can eventually rupture and spread to other areas of the skin.

Do not try to self-burst any of the vesicles hoping to get relieved from pain, as it can aggravate the infection.

Moccasin

They occur over the soles of feet and initially present as dry, sore feet, which start to crack eventually. It can spread to the toenails easily, making it more difficult to treat. In severe cases, the toenails can get detached.

Athlete’s foot prevention

  • Washing your feet and shoes, socks, and sports equipment’s regularly  is crucial.
  • Shared socks or towels must be avoided.
  • Keep feet dry.
  • Use only doctor-prescribed powders and ointments.
  • Avoid commuting barefoot in public areas, bathrooms and post swimming changing rooms.
  • Avoid wearing tight rubber or vinyl shoes.
  • Must have adequate shoe ventilation

Jock Itch

Also goes by the term ‘Tinea cruris’.

Symptoms occur over the sweaty groin region and are the same as the fungal infection mentioned above.

Prevention

  • Avoid wearing sweat-drenched inner wears and pants for long hours.
  • Wear loose fitted clothes.
  • Use only doctor prescribed powders and ointments.
  • Any synthetic fabric causing more friction over the groins should be avoided.
  • Keep your groins clean and dry.

Treatment

Any doctor would first ask you to keep your groins clean and dry.

Only doctor prescribed powders and creams must be used for better results. Avoid over-the-counter steroid creams, it can worsen the outcome eventually.

Ringworm

Also known as ‘Tinea corporis’ if it affects the whole body.

Symptoms

Presents as scaly, round, itchy lesions anywhere in the body, including the scalp leading to Alopecia.

Treatment

Beware of over-the-counter triple-action creams that are marketed specifically for ringworm infections that have an antibacterial, steroid and antifungal combination in them; they can cause immediate relief but flare up later, making it more resistant to treatment. This condition is called ‘Tinea incognito’, where the typical round lesions look distorted, making it difficult to visually diagnose without history.

Yeast infection

Vaginal yeast infections are a familiar diagnosis among gynaecologists. They can be treated as out-patient cases.

Cause

The imbalance between normal vaginal bacteria and yeast due to several reasons listed below :

  • Uncontrolled Diabetes
  • Frequent vaginal washing (especially using fragrance)
  • Poor menstrual hygiene
  • Unprotected sexual activity (can easily spread to sexual partner)
  • Hormonal changes – pregnancy, breastfeeding and oral contraceptive pills
  • Any immunosuppressed person
  • Frequent consumption of antibiotics

Symptoms

  • Itching and burning sensation over the vaginal skin and closer areas
  • Curdy white foul-smelling discharge per vagina
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Treatment

  • Firstly, consult your doctor, do not try to self-treat. Vaginal pessary, creams and tablets will be prescribed
  • Wear loose inner clothes for better ventilation
  • Probiotics help

Conclusion

In case you have the above symptoms, consult your doctor for treatment and follow the tips discussed to prevent further spread or aggravation.

FAQs

1. What is the main cause of fungal infection?

Poor hygeine

2. How do you get rid of a fungal infection?

To follow a doctor’s prescription and maintain hygeine. Always complete the full course of the prescribed medications or recurrence is common.

3. Can fungal infection spread?

YES, via skin contact and through used linens. Never share clothes or have unprotected sexual intercourse while having a fungal infection.

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