Fungi are widespread in our environment and come from spore bearing plants that have no chlorophyll. They are commonly known as mold, mildew, and yeast. Because fungus is so prevalent, it is inevitable that a certain amount of fungi lands on the skin. Fungal infections of the skin are often called ringworm or tinea. Fungus grows very rapidly in moist, dark places with little ventilation as such microscopic fungi, called dermatophytes, thrive on dead tissue such as the outer layer of the skin and nails.
A fungal infection occurs when fungi multiply and cause inflammation.
The most common types of fungal infections of the skin and nails are:
HOW TO TREAT FUNGUS
Superficial fungal infections are usually treated with over the counter or prescription antifungal creams or sprays. If the infection persists, an oral antifungal drug may be prescribed.
Systemic fungal infections are treated with oral antifungal medications.
Although fungal infections are usually not serious in healthy individuals, it is important to seek treatment because sometimes the infection can spread and complications such as secondary bacterial infections develop.
LONG TERM RESULTS
Most infections improve with treatment within several weeks. It is important to note, however, that many fungal infections do not respond to treatment. It can take prolonged periods and many treatment methods before there is any response.
PREVENTING FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Several important steps can be taken to prevent fungal infections. Practice good personal hygiene, skin should be kept clean and dry. Avoid artificial fingernails. Household sources of fungus such as showers, bathtubs, and floors should be maintained by cleaning regularly with warm water and a disinfectant.
If a member of the household has a superficial infection, be sure to keep sheets, towels and clothing separate and clean.