The Common Types of Fungal Infections And Treatments
Fungal skin infections are caused by many different types of fungi, including yeasts. They’re very common and may be the cause of that itchy rash you’ve had for a while.
We describe some of the most common fungal skin infections and what you can do, with the help of your Asset Pharmacy pharmacist, to treat them. We also talk about ways to help you reduce the chance that you’ll get fungal skin infections and spread them to family and friends.
Types of fungal skin infections
Athlete’s Foot is a very common infection. It’s thought that around seven in 10 people have athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) at some time in their lives. Athlete’s Foot is caused by fungi that grow in the skin between your toes and on the soles of your feet. They grow easily here because of the moisture formed when your feet sweat.
The infection can make the skin between your toes itchy, flaky, and red. You may get painful cracks, or fissures, in the skin there. The sole of your foot can also become itchy, thickened, and scaly. You might get blisters too.
You’re more likely to get athlete’s foot if your footwear makes your feet sweaty, and you’re in a warm, humid environment. You can pick up athlete’s foot if you walk barefoot on damp, contaminated floors such as in communal bathing or swimming areas. After scratching the affected area, you can spread the infection, causing the athlete’s foot in other parts of your body.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
- Peeling, cracking, and scaly feet
- Skin that’s red, softened or broken down
Athlete’s foot treatment
Your doctor might give you antifungal medicine to put on your skin or, in severe cases, another kind to take by mouth. Be sure to keep your feet clean and dry.
Athlete’s foot prevention
To keep from getting athlete’s foot, wear shower sandals in public showering areas, wear shoes that let your feet breathe, and wash your feet every day with soap and water. Dry them thoroughly, and use a quality foot powder.
Fungal Nail infections
The medical name for a fungal nail infection is onychomycosis. It can affect any part of your nail, and your toenails are much more likely to be affected than your fingernails. Fungal infections of your nail tend to take a long time to develop. They cause your nail to discolour and become rough and crumbly. The surrounding tissue may also get thicker.
Having a fungal nail infection can make you feel uncomfortable about showing your feet, for instance, when swimming, or sharing changing rooms. It can also sometimes become painful and cause problems with standing or exercising.
You’re more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you have other fungal skin infections, such as an athlete’s foot.
Despite its name, ringworm is an infection with a fungus, not a worm. Its name comes from the way it often causes a ring-shaped rash. Ringworm infections are very common and can affect different parts of your body.
Ringworm on your body
This usually affects parts of your body that are exposed, such as your arms, legs, or trunk, and it causes a red, scaly, ring-shaped rash. Ringworm can spread with close contact. You can catch it by touching somebody who already has ringworm, or by touching contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding. Farm animals such as cattle carry the fungi that cause ringworm, as well as pets like cats and dogs.
Ringworm is a red, circular, flat sore that can happen along with scaly skin. The outer part of the sore might be raised while the skin in the middle appears normal. Patches or red rings may overlap
Treatment usually involves antifungal medications that you put on your skin. You might use an over-the-counter cream such as:
Ringworm in your groin (Jock Itch )
This is also called ‘jock itch’ and it’s more common in young men. This is because the scrotum and thigh are in close contact, which can create conditions in which fungi can thrive. It can also happen if you’re very overweight or often wear tight clothing. Ringworm can cause an itchy, red rash in your groin and around the top of your legs.
You’re most likely to get ringworm in your groin if you have other fungal skin infections of your hands, feet or nails. Like ringworm on your body, ringworm in your groin can spread with close contact and you can pass it on in the same way.
Ringworm in your groin is only mildly contagious. It can spread from person to person through direct contact or indirectly through objects with the fungus on them.
Symptoms Of Ringworm In Your Groin ( Jock Itch )
Symptoms of jock itch include:
- Itching, chafing or burning on your groin or thigh
- A red, circular, rash with raised edges
- Redness on your groin or thigh
- Flaking, peeling, or cracking skin
Jock itch treatment
Keep the affected area clean and dry. Over-the-counter antifungal medicines can treat most cases of jock itch. In severe cases, your doctor might need to give you a prescription cream. No matter your treatment, be sure to:
- Wash and dry the area with a clean towel
- Use the antifungal medicine as directed
- Change clothes — especially your underwear — every day
Ringworm on your scalp
You can get this at any age, but it mostly affects children. Ringworm usually appears in patches on your scalp, which are scaly and may itch. In some people, the patches become inflamed and red, with pustules forming. You may also develop a pus-filled area on your scalp, called a ‘kerion’. During the infection, it’s possible that your hair may fall out and leave bald areas, but it usually grows back once you treat the infection.
Treatment of Ringworm on the scalp Ketoconazole shampoo can be used for the treatment of tinea (pityriasis) Versicolor ( a common fungal scalp infection that causes small patches of skin to become scaly and discolored
Candida (yeast) Thrush Infections
Candida is yeast, which means it’s a kind of fungus. It may live harmlessly inside the gastrointestinal tract (gut) and vagina. However, if the conditions are right, candida can multiply and start to cause symptoms of infection. These infections are often around the genitals (vagina and penis), in the mouth, or where there are folds of skin. A common name for candida infections is ‘thrush’.
Thrush makes the affected area sore and itchy. The skin is usually red and moist, and small pustules appear.
In women, vaginal thrush can cause itchiness and a white discharge.
Oral thrush (in the mouth) most often affects babies and older people (particularly if you wear false teeth). It can look like white patches, which leave a red mark if you rub them off.
Treatment of Oral Thrush:
Nystatin Oral suspension