Fungal Infection On Skin: Causes, Prevention & Treatment
There are millions of species of fungi. They live almost everywhere be it on plants, soil or even on skin. While they are typically harmless to the skin, an overgrowth of fungi or penetration through a cut or lesion can lead to infection. Fungal infection usually occurs when the fungus gets a favourable environment to develop resulting in symptoms such as scaly rashes or as redness or discoloured lesions on the skin.
In this article let’s learn from a Delhi based dermatologist, Dr Nivedita Dadu about the causes of fungal infection, prevention measures, and potential treatments.
What are the causes of fungal infection?
Fungal infections are primarily caused by two factors: environmental conditions and lifestyle choices.
- Environment: Warm, moist environment provides the most favourable conditions for fungus to develop on your skin and spread rapidly. As several cities across the country experience these weather conditions and that too for a long period, fungal infection is quite common here.
- Lifestyle: If your lifestyle involves excessive sweating, it may create an environment conducive to fungal growth, particularly in moist, sweaty areas with limited airflow.
Who can easily catch fungal infection?
- People who sweat a lot: If you experience excessive sweating, you are more prone to fungal infection as it provides a favourable condition for these microorganisms to grow.
- People who are overweight: More weight means more chances of fungal infection especially in areas where you experience sweat. This includes skin folds such as armpits, under breast, between buttocks and inner thighs.
- People who are diabetic: Diabetic people have low immunity hence they catch fungus easily and it also takes them longer to get rid of infection.
- People who consume immunosuppressants: Those who consume immunosuppressants or steroids develop a weak immunity due to which they catch fungal infection easily.
Besides, people who live in overcrowded places or travel in an overcrowded transport are also prone to fungal infection.
How to prevent fungal infection?
To prevent fungus from developing on your skin, here are a few dos and don’ts that you must consider.
- Maintain hygiene: If you go to a gym or even exercise at home, do take a shower once so that even if there are few fungus pores on your skin, they get washed away.
- Wear cotton clothing: Wear cotton clothes as they are breathable and provide airflow for drying out the dampness, thus preventing the growth of fungus. Tight clothing must be avoided as it can make you sweat a lot.
- Wash your clothes inside out: If you already have fungal infection, wash your clothes properly and separately so that other family members do not catch the infection.
- Avoid using steroid creams: Steroid creams may provide you relief for the time being, but they are not the right treatment. Though creams like panderm and corederm help you to get rid of redness and inflammation, they may have side effects. And when you stop applying them, the fungus spreads faster in your body.
- Do not apply oil: Many people apply coconut or mustard oil on the infection areas to prevent dryness and itching but this worsens the condition as oiliness provides a suitable atmosphere for fungus to grow.
- Avoid Scratching: Scratching can introduce fungus into your nails, which can then spread to other parts of your body when you touch them, causing infection.
How to treat fungal infection?
There are several antifungal creams and tablets available in the market today that can help you to get rid of fungal infection.
Dr Dadu recommends tablets like Itraconazole, Terbinafine, Ketoconazole and Fluconazole and antifungal creams like sertaconazole, luliconazole and clotrimazole to get rid of fungal infection. Many of these antifungal creams contain zinc and other ingredients that help to repair the skin’s surface barrier and reduce the itching sensation.
It must be noted that you should take dosages only as prescribed by a dermatologist as some of them may require a blood test before consumption. A dermatologist may also prescribe you a different combination of creams and tablets to help you get rid of the infection at the earliest.
Besides, you can use dusting powders, body washes, non-greasy moisturisers and consume anti allergics to get rid of fungal infection and prevent the growth of fungus in future.
Though not very serious, fungal infection has become very common in humans. It can take weeks or months to effectively treat. If you think you have fungal infection, go to a dermatologist and get yourself properly diagnosed. With the right diagnosis and treatment, you can get rid of fungal infection more quickly.
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