Fungal or fungal infections are caused by fungi that infect the skin. They are frequent, contagious and curable diseases with a correct treatment.
How are they produced?
In general, fungi are microorganisms that grow best in hot and humid conditions. For this reason, many mycoses usually contract in public places such as swimming pools, showers or changing rooms, places frequented by many people and where the required conditions of humidity and heat exist.
Furthermore, fungi can behave like opportunistic germs, that is, they take advantage of a situation in which the patient has a decrease in his defenses. This occurs, for example, in elderly patients, diabetics or patients treated with cancer drugs (chemotherapy), among others.
According to the affected skin area, the main mycoses are:
Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot : occurs when fungi infect the feet. The most common form is manifested by itching, peeling and sometimes a bad smell between the toes. In other forms the aspect is of dryness and desquamation in all the sole of the foot.
Tinea of the nails or onychomycosis: its frequency increases from the age of 50. When it affects the feet, the first toes are the most frequently infected. The most frequent form manifests as a brown or yellowish stain on the end of the nail, which grows and progresses slowly towards the base of the nail. Frequently, the nail becomes thick, and a powdery material is formed inside it. In the hands, the most frequent form affects the sides of the nail, and it is typical that it occurs in people who wet their hands a lot. It is usually accompanied by inflammation and suppuration in the surrounding skin (paronychia or “fingernail”).
Tinea corporis or circinated herpes: infection that affects any area of the body. It is manifested by ring-shaped plates that flake off the edge and heal in the center. They can be single or multiple. It is frequent to contract it from infected animals (cats, rabbits, etc.).
Tinea manuum or ringworm of the hands: so, named when it affects the hands.
Tinea capitis or querion: fungal infection of the scalp usually manifests with highly inflamed and suppurative plaques. They can cause irreversible hair destruction and alopecia (bald spots) if not treated in time.
In most cases, the best skin specialist diagnoses these infections only by examination. If there are doubts with other diagnoses, a scaling of the flaking they produce can be performed for a culture or microscopic examination. At other times a small biopsy may be done.
There are several antibiotics active against fungi (antifungals) that can be used topically (in cream) or orally (in pills). The type of infection and its extension will indicate one or the other route. In general, antifungals are usually taken longer than antibiotics against other germs like bacteria.
With regard to foot infections (athlete’s foot), prevention is aimed at the use of flip flops in public places such as showers, swimming pools, changing rooms, etc., especially in athletes who frequent them regularly. In addition, it is easy for the fungus to grow if there are conditions of humidity and heat, best skin specialist recommends to take time after showering to dry your feet well, and you should wear shoes that facilitate perspiration.