Fungal Infections

Skin fungus affects a number of people at some time or the other during their lives. It is actually a blanket term for a number of infections that affect different areas of the body. The most common fungus skin infections are:

Types of Fungus Skin Infections

 Skin fungus affects a number of people at some time or the other during their lives. It is actually a blanket term for a number of infections that affect different areas of the body. The most common fungus skininfections are:

•    Athlete’s Foot: This infection affects the skin between the toenails and sometimes spreads to the soles of the feet. Symptoms include itchiness and a burning sensation as well as an unpleasant smell from the feet.

•    Jock Itch: This is a manifestation of the same fungus as above in the pubic region. Athletes are more prone to both these infections, though they may also occur in anyone who sweats a lot. Jock itch causes itching and burning in the pubic area as well as flaking of the skin on the inside of the thighs.

•    Ringworm: Is not a worm at all, but is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It spreads out from a central point (like a ring) and the effected area is itchy, red and often raised. Children are at high risk from this skin fungus, especially since it spreads easily through contact.

•    Candidiasis: This fungal skin infection causes a brownish-red discolouration of the skin. It affects the area around the mouth or the underarms or the rectal area or the skin beneath the breasts. The same fungus also causes vaginal yeast infections.

•    Tinea Versicolour: Is a skin fungus that changes the colour of the affected skin to a darker or lighter shade than the normal skin tone. The affected area is also defined by flaky scales around its edges.

Most of these skin fungus infections are caused by excessive sweating and/ or poor hygiene. They are all also highly contagious and spread easily through contact. They are, however, usually not very serious and can be easily prevented and treated by keeping in mind a few simple tips:

•    Avoid sharing soaps, towels, shoes, underwear, socks etc., especially in public places like gyms, locker rooms, swimming pool showers etc.
•    Use thong slippers in public showers.
•    If you sweat a lot or live in a humid place, shower twice a day with a good carbolic soap, use a deodorant and liberal amounts of anti-fungal powder in all fungus-prone areas.
•    Wear well-fitting cotton underwear and cotton socks. Your outer clothing should also not be restrictive and should allow your skin to breathe freely.
•    Yogurt is known to be very effective in battling fungal skin infections. Garlic is also known for its anti-fungal properties. Consuming the same is beneficial.
•    Tea-tree and lavender oil, mixed in equal proportions and dabbed gently with a cotton swab helps athlete’s foot.

If your symptoms still persist after two weeks or if your discomfort is acute, please see your doctor or a dermatologist to rule out any other type of skin infection like dermatitis or eczema.