A fungal infection is a skin condition that occurs when a fungus called a dermophyte infects the skin and causes symptoms which can resemble other skin conditions, such as an allergic reaction. Some of the most common symptoms of fungal infections are red, flaky or itchy skin. In some instances, the skin may even turn color.
Fungal infections can occur in different parts of the body including the scalp, fingernails and toenails, or groin. They can also be found in places on the body where there are folds of skin, such as under the breasts, underarms and even the lower abdomen. In general, any area of the body that is warm and moist is an ideal environment for fungal infections to thrive.
Fungal infections are contagious, and are contracted through contact with objects that have come into contact with infected people’s skin. Since the fungi like warm, moist environments, gym locker rooms, the areas around swimming pools and public showers are all areas where fungal infections tend to be contracted.
Types of Fungal Infections
There are a number of different types of fungal infections. Some of the most common are the following:
- Candidiasis – Candidiasis is most commonly known for causing yeast infections in the vaginal area, but this type of fungal infection can also infect the mouth, or skin folds such as those found under the arms, breasts or abdomens in overweight people. When Candidiasis can infect infants in the mouth and diaper area and is called thrush in this form.
- Athlete’s Foot – Athlete’s Foot, known as tinea pedis, is a commonly-known type of fungal infection that typically affects the skin between the toes and on the soles of the feet. Like all fungi, it thrives in moist, warm areas, so it tends to be spread in locker rooms and gym shower rooms. Symptoms include red, dry, flaky peeling patches of skin, which can blister and even progress to the point of cracking and bleeding if left untreated. This type of fungal infection causes itching and burning sensations in the affected areas and can be very uncomfortable.
- Ringworm – Ringworm, known as tinea corpea, is not actually caused by a worm, but is one of the most common fungal infections. It can affect different areas of the body, including the scalp, and presents as a red ring on the skin which can become itchy and flaky. Like other fungi, this particular type of fungal infection thrives in moist, warm areas, such as locker rooms or shower rooms. It can also be contracted from the family pet.
- Jock Itch – Jock Itch, known as tinea cruris, is a form of ringworm that occurs mostly in the groin area. It can infect the genitals, anal area, buttocks and inner thighs. The symptoms include burning, itching and redness in the infected areas, and the skin may peel and crack. The red areas on the skin take on a circular form similar to ringworm.
The best fungal infection treatment is to prevent the conditions from happening. Since fungal infections thrive in warm, moist areas, keeping your skin clean and dry is an effective way to prevent these conditions. Also, avoid contact with areas where the fungi might be passed from one person to another by always wearing sandals in public locker rooms and shower rooms. When you are working out in a public place, always put a towel down on shared equipment or benches.
If prevention fails and a fungal infection is present, there are a number of steps that can be taken for fungal infection treatment:
- Determine the type of infection – Since many of the symptoms of fungal infections are similar to those of other skin conditions, it is always prudent to seek professional diagnosis from a doctor. He or she may take a sample of cells from the infected area to confirm that a fungal infection is present.
- Keep the affected areas as dry as possible – Since fungal infections like warm, moist areas to grow, keeping infected areas dry by changing out of wet bathing suits or workout clothes is helpful in fungal infection treatment. To that end, you may want to wear open-toed shoes or change socks often if the fungal infection is on the feet. Men who are experiencing jock itch may want to switch to loose cotton shorts as part of their fungal infection treatment plan.
- Utilize anti-fungal medications – Topical anti-fungal medications are available over-the-counter and via prescription for fungal infection treatment. Additionally, anti-fungal shampoos and mouthwashes are also used in fungal infection treatment. The most appropriate fungal infection treatment option will depend upon where the infection is located. Sufferers may also utilize hydrocortisone creams to relieve the redness and itching that often accompanies fungal infections.
- Dermisil AF – Dermisil AF is a product used to combat athlete’s foot fungus. It is made of all-natural ingredients and helps relieve the discomfort of athlete’s foot and clear up the infection when used as a fungal infection treatment.
- Dermisil R – Dermisil R is another all-natural fungal infection treatment, specifically formulated to fight ringworm infections.
- Dermisil J – Dermisil J is a fungal infection treatment product used to fight jock itch. Like the other Dermisil products, it is made from all-natural ingredients.
Professional Fungal Infection Treatment
While some forms of fungal infections may respond to home treatment, it is sometimes advisable to seek professional fungal infection treatment.
If you experience red spots or a rash that does not go away, it is a good idea to consult a doctor so that he may take smears or scrapings of the infected tissue to be observed under a microscope and analyzed. This applies to fungal infections of the mouth, nails, skin or genital area.
Additionally, if you have tried home fungal infection treatment and the condition is not improving or is accompanied by oozing or swelling, it is wise to see professional fungal infection treatment from a doctor. This happens often with fungal infections that have gotten under the toenails. You may need a doctor to write you a prescription for stronger medication for fungal infection treatment than is available over-the-counter.