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What are fungal infections?

Athlete's foot, yeast infections and some skin rashes are the result of certain types of fungi that can build up on the skin and mucus membranes (mouth, vagina) to cause fungal infections. Sweating and moisture predispose fungal infections. 

Fungi live in air, in soil, on plants and in water. Some live in the human body. Only about half of all types of fungi are harmful.

You are more likely to get a fungal infection if you have a weakened immune system, take antibiotics or systemic corticosteroids.

But many other people get common fungal infections that usually appear on the skin, as the organisms live on a protein called keratin. This protein makes up the nails, skin and hair. These infections cause rashes, itching and sometimes swelling with pain.

Fungi can be difficult to kill. For skin and nail infections, you can apply medicine directly to the infected area. Oral antifungal medicines are also available for serious infections.

A fungal infection is caused by an infection of some sort of fungus in various parts of the body, either through contact or respiration. Usually, most fungi are harmless, but occasionally they can infect the body and cause various symptoms. A fungal infection can affect any part of the body and is classified as either a deep tissue infection or superficial. Superficial means it only affects the skin or outside of the body, while a deep tissue infection means it attacks the lungs and internal parts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.