Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections
Skin fungal infections thrive in warm, moist areas of the body, such as in the armpits or groin. It's also possible to get fungal infections on or around the mouth or nails. Athlete's foot, yeast infections, jock itch, ringworm and some skin rashes are the result of certain types of fungi that can build up on the skin and mucus membranes to cause fungal infections. A fungal infection of the skin can create a great deal of discomfort, appearing as a red, intensely itchy, inflamed rash.

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    ARealAge answered
    A fungus is a type of organism that lives in soil, water, on plants and in the air. Mold is a common example. Some types of fungus can also live and grow on body tissues, such as the fingernails or skin, leading to an infection. Infections caused by fungus include yeast infections and ringworm infections (such as jock itch or athlete's foot). Fungus usually grows best in moist, dark areas, such as folds of skin. People with weak immune systems have a higher risk of fungal infections.
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    ARealAge answered

    A fungal infection of the skin can create a great deal of discomfort, appearing as a red, intensely itchy, inflamed rash.

    A common form of fungal skin infection is cutaneous candidiasis. It is caused by yeast organisms known as candida.

    Skin fungal infections thrive in warm, moist areas of the body such as in the armpits or groin. It's also possible to get fungal infections on or around the mouth or nails.

    These infections can be transferred through skin-to-skin contact as well as through contact with soiled towels or clothing.

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    To help treat fungus infections:
    • Keep the area as clean and dry as possible. Wash more often. Wear clean cotton clothes.
    • Use antifungal cream, spray, or powder. Common brands are Monistat-Derm, Lotrimin, and Lamisil.
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    A Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Red, itchy, ring-shaped sores are often a sign of a skin infection called ringworm. This common condition is caused by a fungus, not worms as the name suggests. Ringworm patches usually have reddish borders but have clear, healthy-looking skin in the center. The edges may be raised and the sore may itch. In some cases, blisters can form. Ringworm usually goes away on its own in about a month, but over-the-counter anti-fungal medicine may speed up the process. See a doctor if ringworm persists, if a sore becomes swollen or oozes, or if you develop a fever.
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    A Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    A condition called tinea captis, or ringworm of the scalp, can cause patchy hair loss. A bald spot caused by tinea captis may itch and develop sores. This condition usually affects children but can occur at any age. Tinea captis is caused by a fungal infection, not worms. It's more likely to occur if a person has experienced a scalp injury or engages in activities that cause heavy sweating. Also, poor hygiene increases the risk for tinea captis.
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    Practicing good hygiene and regularly washing the hands with soap and water may help reduce the risk of acquiring fungal infections. This is especially important after exposure to soil (e.g. gardening) because many types of fungi live in the dirt. Good hygiene may also reduce the risk of passing a contagious infection on to others.

    Fungi prefer warm, moist environments. Therefore, patients should limit their exposure to such conditions. Individuals should wear shower shoes (e.g. flip flops or sandals) when they are exposed to wet or moist surfaces at a public setting. This includes public showers and swimming pools at gyms and workout clubs. Patients should change their socks if they become sweaty. Individuals, especially those who are obese, should carefully dry themselves after taking a shower.

    All produce should be washed thoroughly before eating to prevent exposure to disease-causing organisms, such asHistoplasma capsulatum. This is because produce is grown in the soil, which is a common habitat for fungi.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



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    A Jeanine Downie, MD, Dermatology, answered
    How can I help prevent fungal nail infections?

    To prevent fungal nail infections, you should avoid trauma to your nails, and you should be careful of how you cut them. Watch as dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, shares strategies for preventing fungal infections from growing under your nails.

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    A James Ioli, DPM, Podiatric Medicine, answered
    The available oral medications do not eradicate toenail fungus in everyone, and because the fungus may recur, follow-up treatment is often necessary. One clinical trial reported in Archives of Dermatology, which followed participants for an average of a little more than four years, found that 46% of people who took terbinafine (Lamisil) had their nail fungus clear up without additional treatment, as compared with 13% of those who took itraconazole (Sporanox). And persistence paid off: the same study found that the nail fungus eventually cleared up in 88% of the people who underwent additional treatment with Lamisil.

    It's important to understand, however, that because many of the studies about effectiveness have been funded by the pharmaceutical industry (and thus may be biased), it is difficult to say for sure just how well these medications work. However, a review in Archives of Dermatology concluded that taking Lamisil for three months was probably the most effective medication strategy for nail fungus. However, terbinafine (Lamisil), can cause serious liver damage and, in rare cases, death. If medications do not clear up your fungal infection, even after a second try, permanent surgical removal of the nail may be necessary. This will completely eradicate the infection, but your nail will not grow back afterward.
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    A James Ioli, DPM, Podiatric Medicine, answered
    Women with toenail fungus may want to reconsider using toenail polish, because it prevents moisture in the nail bed from evaporating through the nail. Make sure your toes are completely dry before applying nail polish, and always disinfect pedicure tools -- even if they are your own. Tight shoes that do not allow toes to "breathe" further aggravate the problem and can encourage fungal growth.
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    A Christopher Chiodo, MD, Orthopedic Surgery, answered
    Some types of socks and hose trap moisture, which encourages fungal growth. Natural fibers such as cotton absorb moisture efficiently in clothing exposed continually to the air, but when it comes to socks, there's no place for the moisture to go because the feet are encased in shoes. Cotton's wonderful absorbent quality suddenly becomes a disadvantage, and your feet may feel sweaty and damp, especially after exercising. Synthetic materials that are designed to "wick" away moisture, allowing it to evacuate up the leg, are often the best choice. Most socks today are a blend of 80% cotton with 20% synthetic fiber (such as polyester or acrylic), although some are entirely synthetic, the better choice. Wool socks can keep your feet warmer, but may cause them to perspire excessively, which encourages fungal growth.