Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can occur anywhere on your body but are usually found on your feet (athletes foot), scalp, or groin (jock itch). Ringworm and yeast infections are both caused by fungus. You can also get fungus on your fingernails and toenails.

What are the symptoms?

Fungal infections are primarily itchy, but sometimes they can be painful. Your skin may flake, blister, and crack. If you have a compromised immune system, you may get a dangerous secondary infection, from an open blister or from scratching until your skin is raw.

Candidiasis, another form of fungal (yeast) infection, may cause raw, painful or itchy patches and blisters at the corners of your mouth, under breasts, in between your fingers and toes, or in your groin area.

Tinea versicolor is a type of yeast infection that causes splotchy, sometimes itchy skin-discoloration, and patches of skin that refuse to tan. These patches are usually a shade lighter or pinker than your normal skin.

Scalp fungus can cause itching, dandruff, flaking, and raised round blisters in a circular pattern, called ringworm. (Ringworm can also appear on other parts of your body).

Nail fungus can cause nails to thicken or crumble and turn yellow or cloudy.

What is the treatment?

Fungal infections are treated by prescription topical creams, washes, and oral antifungals.

Can it be prevented?

Humidity, heat and sweating are common culprits, and people with oily skin or a weakened immune system are more likely to be affected. However, anyone can get a fungal infection, and fungus can spread by surface contact or from one part of the body to another.

In order to prevent spreading an infection to other areas of your body, wash the affected area frequently and wash your hands after touching the area.  Avoid sharing towels, nail clippers, combs and brushes, and clean gym equipment before and after use. Wear shoes in locker rooms and communal places, and change out of wet or sweat-soaked clothes promptly.

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