Dr. Seher Arı

Fungus

Fungus infections are the type of skin infections also known as “mycoses”. Fungi are parasites that live with living or dead organic substances. Being one of the most frequent diseases and contagious, fungus is a single cell organism that causes redness, itch, inflammation and swell on the skin.

Surface fungus infections affecting the outer layer of skin, hair and nails are common and mild in general. However, if the person’s health is not well for any other reason or his/her immune system is suppressed, fungi may sometimes cause serious illnesses.

Fungus may emerge in various areas on the skin and can spread from where it emerges to other areas in time. Fungus kinds which causes itch, redness, flaking and inflammation on skin, may spread to other individuals through using the same objects with the infected person. It can be treated with creams, ointments and medical methods according to the severity of symptoms and the course of the disease.

Fungus disease mostly emerge on areas like feet, nails, groins, vagina and hair on the skin. But it may also affect tongue and lymph nodes although rare.
Fungus is a disease that can infect through direct skin contact or sharing items. Some fungi kinds may affect multiple individuals and become pandemic because of their high infectivity. Fungus infections seen in kids can rapidly spread in a school environment. Alongside objects like shoes, slippers, towels, napkins, sheets and beddings, areas such as public pools, Turkish baths, saunas, bathrooms, hotel rooms and beaches may also cause fungus to infect others. Fungus can also infect from person to person through soil in dirty places such as gardens, sands and croplands. Fungus can spread from person to person and from animal to person.

Which people do fungus infections affect the most?

Fungus nail infections are more likely to affect elders and those with poor immune system. In addition, it’s a higher chance to affect people with diabetes. They’re rare in children.

It’s more likely to affect those who exercise and do physical works because of the sweating feet in closed shoes.

Individuals that are most likely to have are:

  • People with over-sweating,
  • People leaving their bodies humid after shower,
  • People sharing objects like shoes, towels with others,
  • People with infectious diseases such as AIDS,
  • Kids at preadolescence
  • Obese or diabetic patients,
  • Pregnants,
  • Patients with terminal cancer,
  • People with poor immune system or body resistance,
  • Individuals whose hands are left wet constantly

How does a dermatologist diagnose fungus skin infections?

A dermatologist diagnoses fungus skin infections through physical examination, reviewing medical history and laboratory tests. A skin scratching or nail piece from the infected area is sent to laboratory for analysis. Analysis will determine whether there’s fungus and which kind of fungus is there. They “grow” a culture, so laboratory results may take for up to 5 weeks.

How to treat fungus skin infections ?

It’s not necessary to treat all fungus nail infections. If it’s not causing any physical or emotional discomfort, most people prefer not to treat them, despite paying attention to be sure the fungus is not spread to other areas of the body or other people.

Things you can do on your own:

Most of the medicines for fungus skin infections are topical treatments. There are various fungus infection treatments in cream, ointment, shampoo and lotion forms. Some of these can be provided from pharmacies so you don’t have to necessarily consult your doctor. But if the case gets worse and nonprescription medicines are not working, you should consult your doctor.

There are a few things you can do to help stopping a fungus infection spreading on your skin:

  • Washing affected areas daily.
  • Drying the curves of your body well especially after taking a shower or bath.
  • Wearing cotton or loose-fitting clothes that moves sweat away from your body.
  • If you have foot nail infection, keeping feet dry and nails short.
  • Wearing breathing shoes and cotton socks close-fitting your feet.
  • Changing and washing clothes, beddings and towels frequently.

 

In order to avoid spreading the infection to others:

Do not share personal items such as clothes, brushes or combs.
If you have foot fungus or foot nail infection do not go to public changing rooms, pools or gyms with naked feet.
If you have fungus infection, you can continue your normal life. But you must begin treatment as soon as possible and practice good hygiene rules to avoid spreading to others.

Things to do with professional assistance:

Dermatologist begins treatment based on physical examination, this way the situation may recover until the laboratory result arrives.

If you have an eruption covering a wide skin area or affecting your nails or scalp, you may need to get a tablet. If you’ve used a topical treatment and it didn’t work, your doctor can additionally prescript tablets. You may need to continue treatment for up to two weeks after your symptoms are recovered depending on the kind of fungus infection you have and how worse it is. It’s important to follow the instructions that comes along with your medicine or is given to you by your doctor.
Some fungus infections are needed to be treated within a longer time. For example, if you have nail fungus infection, you may need to treat it for up to a year with a topical treatment or for a few months with tablets. Although it does not seem totally normal, recovery of your nail may take from 6 months to a year. Fungus infections may recur even though they seem recovered, especially on feet and foot nails.

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