Fungal infections usually affect the skin because they live off keratin, a protein that makes up skin, hair and nails. Fungi usually make their homes in moist areas of the body where skin surfaces meet: between the toes, in the genital area, and under the breasts. Fungal skin disorders are common and represent a significant component of any primary care practice that involves children. Fungi are ubiquitous organisms capable of colonizing almost any environment, including virtually all humans. They grow in irregular masses and can be broadly divided into two basic forms: molds and yeasts. The most common fungal infections including is athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a common infection and is often caused by a combination of fungi and bacteria. It causes scaling and sogginess of the skin, commonly of the web spaces between the toes. Onychomycosis is the name for any fungal nail infection. Tinea unguium (ringworm of the nails) is a common one. The nails become malformed, thickened and crumbly.
Fungi can be caught from animals , soil or other people. These fungi can live undetected on your body for some months before they multiply enough to cause redness or soreness. Strangely, fungal infections on one part of the body can cause rashes on other parts of the body that are not infected. Thrush (Candida albicans)-The fungus Candida is present within most people. It usually lives in harmony with us and rarely causes problems. Beard ringworm (tinea barbae) is rare. Most skin infections in the beard area are caused by bacteria, not fungi. Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) is primarily caused by Trichophyton. Scalp ringworm is highly contagious and is common among children , especially black children. Most ringworm infections, except those of the scalp and nails, are mild. Antifungal creams usually cure them.
Many effective antifungal creams can be purchased without a prescription; antifungal powders are generally not as good. These treatments are usually effective and only occasionally cause side-effects. These may include skin irritation and allergic reactions. It is not unusual for the rash to return, even when it seems to have been treated. Some treatments are available over the counter from a pharmacist, without a prescription. Examples include clotrimazole (eg Canesten), miconazole (eg Daktarin) and terbinafine (eg Lamisil). Dry the skin carefully after bathing. Wear loose fitting clothes and underwear. Avoid sharing towels, hair brushes, and combs, which could contain skin fragments that harbour fungal colonies. Griseofulvin is an effective treatment for tinea capitis if used for a minimum of 6 weeks. Absorption of griseofulvin is enhanced when taken with food.
Fungal Skin Infections Treatment Tips
1. Dry the skin carefully after bathing
2. Wear loose fitting clothes and underwear
3. Avoid sharing towels, hair brushes, and combs, which could contain skin fragments that harbour fungal colonies
4. There are a variety of treatments available in the form of creams, lotions and medicated powders.
5. Some treatments are available over the counter from a pharmacist, without a prescription.
6. Stronger forms of topical treatments and antifungals in tablet form are only available on prescription.