What are fungal infections?
Fungal infections are any disease caused by a fungus. These infections can happen to anyone, even to otherwise healthy people. Fungi are common in the environment. Every day you come into contact with or breathe in fungal spores without getting sick. However, if you have a weak immune system, you are more likely to get a fungal infection.
Some of the most common fungal infections include:
- Tinea corporis (ringworm) – a red patch of skin that is itchy and scaly. The outside of the ring is usually red and may appear bumpy or raised, while the inside of the ring will become scaly or remain clear.
- Tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) – blisters, peeling or cracking skin, burning sensations or itching on the feet and toes.
- Tinea cruris (jock itch) – redness in the groin, thighs, or buttocks, along with burning, itching, or irritation in the affected area.
- Candida – which causes yeast infections, toenail infections, and diaper rash.
What causes fungal infections?
Many fungal infections are opportunistic infections, which means they occur because a person’s immune system is weak. Some people are born with a weak immune system, while others have an illness that specifically attacks the immune system (i.e., HIV/AIDS). Certain medications, such as cancer chemotherapy or corticosteroids, can weaken the body’s ability to fight infections.
People living with HIV/AIDS, organ transplant patients, stem cell transplant patients, cancer patients, and people who take certain medications that weaken the immune system are all more susceptible to fungal infections.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of a fungal infection will vary, depending on the type. The most common symptoms include:
- Redness of the skin
- Cracking or peeling of the skin
How are fungal infections treated?
Anti-fungal creams are very effective for superficial fungal infections. Unfortunately, there is a strong tendency for fungal infections to recur, and some people are generally more prone to developing fungus. It is important to develop a daily regimen that involves keeping the affected areas dry, changing socks, and using anti-fungal powder to help prevent recurrences.
Fungal skin conditions involving the scalp in children require an oral medication because the fungus is in areas in the hair shaft that topical creams cannot penetrate.
Fungal skin conditions in the nails are difficult to treat, because of the thickness and slow growth of the nail, and can take years to improve. Recurrence rate in toenails is very high even after effective clearing with medication.
Request an appointment in Meridian, Idaho
If you have a fungal infection or think you might have one, schedule an appointment at Boise Dermatology & Medspa. We will give you a proper diagnosis and prescribe the best treatment for you. If you have a severe infection, we may need to treat it with additional methods. Call (208) 888-0660 or fill out the appointment request form on our site to get started.