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Fungal Infection (Mycosis) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

We are surrounded by different types of fungi, but only some of them cause infections. Fungal infections are also known as mycosis. A weak immune system, exposure to harmful fungi, etc., may lead to mycosis. These infections can spread around mainly by direct contact or by inhaling the spores. 

Some of the symptoms of fungal infections are; rash, itchiness, dry and flaky skin, etc. The most common fungal infections are athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm. These infections can be treated by applying antifungal creams, gels, or powders. You could also try out home remedies, like applying yoghourt, coconut oil, etc. In order to keep away from fungal infections, keep your skin dry and clean and ensure good hygiene.

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What are the Different Causes of Fungal Infection & How are They Transmitted?

Fungi can survive on a vast range of surfaces, from plant leaves, to air, and soil. In fact, a number of fungi naturally exist in the human body as well. Most of us are exposed to different types of fungi regularly without being affected by them. However, certain conditions may cause these fungi to react and cause infections. Some of these conditions include:

 

  • Exposure to excessive fungi

  • Weak immune system

  • Fungi outbreaks due to changes in the environment

Fungal infections can get transmitted very easily. The most common mode of transmission for a fungal infection is direct contact. Fungi tend to stick around on our bodies — on the surface of our skin and under the nails, among other places. Coming in physical contact with someone with a fungal infection could result in the spread of the infection. There do, however, exist other means for the infection to be transmitted. For instance, you could inhale the spores of a fungus, which could lead to the development of fungal infections.

What are the Common Fungal Infection Symptoms?

There can be varying kinds of fungal infection symptoms based on the type of infection. Let’s look at some examples:

 

  • The symptoms of a fungal ear infection include pain, a feeling of fullness in your ears as well as flaky skin.

  • The symptom of ringworm is an itchy red rash.

  • Athlete's foot causes signs of cracked skin or blistered skin.

  • Tinea versicolor results in discoloured patches of skin.

However, having assessed the symptoms for a number of other fungal infections, we can more or less conclude that the symptoms for a fungal infection display almost exclusively at the site of infection. Additionally, some general symptoms include skin-related rashes/cracking as well as itching.

3 Common Types of Fungal Infections

Fungal infection is also classified as mycosis. Here are 3 types of mycoses, or fungal infections, which you should know of:

 

1. Jock Itch

 

Jock itch is a type of fungal infection around the groin area, inner thighs, and buttocks. It is caused due to dermatophytes, a type of fungi that grow in warm and humid conditions.

  • Diagnosis of Jock Itch


A doctor should be able to diagnose jock itch by taking a look at the affected skin. It usually looks like a red rash which is itchy and ring-shaped.

  • Jock Itch Fungal Infection Treatment


Jock itch may be treated at home by keeping the affected area clean and dry. You can also apply over-the-counter antifungal medicines like creams, spray or powder. However, you must consult your doctor if the symptoms persist.

 

2. Athlete’s Foot

Source: Wikipedia

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin on your feet, hands and nails. Just like jock itch, an athlete's foot is also caused by dermatophytes. This infection is most common among athletes and can be transmitted from one person to another.

  • Diagnosis of Athlete’s Foot


Common symptoms of athlete’s foot are peeling or cracking feet, blisters, itching, burning, and redness of the skin. However, itchy feet may not always be caused by a fungus. Hence, your doctor may scrape off a small area of your skin and examine it under a microscope to check for a fungal infection.

  • Athlete’s Foot Fungal Infection Treatment


The doctor may prescribe over-the-counter antifungal medications to treat athlete’s foot. In addition to the medication, you must keep the affected area clean and dry.

3. Ringworm

Source: Healthline

 Ringworm is another fungal infection (yes, it is not a worm) caused by dermatophytes. It affects your skin and scalp. This infection gets its name because it looks like a ring-shaped rash with a worm-like edge.

  • Diagnosis of Ringworm

Ringworm can be diagnosed with a simple skin examination. The affected area will look like scaly ring-shaped patches which are red and may be bumpy.

  • Ringworm Fungal Infection Treatment

Ringworms can be treated using antifungal gels, creams, powder, etc. However, you must consult your doctor in severe cases.

Did You Know About These Home Remedies for Fungal Infection?

Fungal infections are most often treated at home or with limited visits to the doctors. As a result, there are various home remedies available for fungal infections.

Yoghurt is often touted as an effective home remedy for fungal infections, as are apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. Moreover, applying coconut oil, turmeric, aloe vera, and garlic on the infected area is also said to be an effective countermeasure to fungal infections.

What Can You Do to Prevent Fungal Infection?

Here are some steps you can follow to ensure better hygiene conditions which will inevitably reduce the risk of you contracting a fungal infection:

 

  • Keep skin dry and clean

  • Ensure you routinely wash your hands

  • While visiting public areas such as showers or gyms, keep your footwear on.

  • Maintain distance from animals that might appear as if they have a fungal infection.

Bottom Line

In the larger scheme of things, fungal infections and fungal diseases are not the most lethal infections out there. However, they are a sign of unhygienic and unsanitary living conditions and can expose you to more worrisome illnesses. If you feel that you may have a fungal infection, it is best to consult your doctor at the earliest and seek treatment.

While you can never fully prevent a fungal infection or other illnesses, you can always stay prepared if you are ever diagnosed. A suitable health insurance policy to manage the healthcare costs, in such cases, can be pretty handy.

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FAQs on Fungal Infection

✔️Is ringworm contagious?

Yes, ringworm is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with a person infected by this fungal infection.

✔️How can you treat a fungal infection around the groin?

You can treat a fungal groin infection by applying antifungal creams or ointments that are easily available over-the-counter.

✔️Are ringworm infections lethal?

No, ringworm infects are not usually lethal as they do not affect the deeper skin tissues.

✔️Can I stop taking oral antifungal medications if my symptoms get better than earlier?

It is advisable to always complete the course of medication prescribed by your doctor.

✔️Is a yeast infection contagious?

No, most yeast infections are not contagious.