Fungal Infection On Skin: What Causes It And How To Prevent It?
If you ever notice round, red-coloured lesions on your skin, it could be fungal infection, a skin disease caused by a fungus. There are millions of species of fungi and they live almost everywhere. They can be found on plants, soil, and even on skin.
Dr Nivedita Dadu, a Delhi based dermatologist explains the causes of fungal infection, how to prevent it and what medicines one can take to get rid of this skin disease.
What causes Fungal infection?
There are two main reasons for a fungal infection to occur – Environment & Lifestyle Habits.
Environment: Warm, moist environments provide favourable conditions for these microscopic organisms to develop on your skin. Due to India’s climate such conditions are experienced in several cities and that too for a long period.
Local situations like living in a room with a lot of people or travelling in overcrowded transport , are also conducive for such infections to spread from one person to another.
Lifestyle Habits: If your lifestyle is such that you experience excessive sweating, fungus can grow on your skin especially on sweaty, damp areas that don’t get much airflow.
Who can easily catch fungal infection?
- Who sweats a lot: Those who experience excessive sweating are more prone to fungal infection as sweat provides a favourable condition for fungus to grow. For example, if you are an athlete, you have more chances of fungal infection due to excessive sweating. Also, if you're someone who goes to gym and is not able to maintain personal hygiene, fungus may develop on your skin.
- Someone who is overweight: If you're overweight, there are more chances that you may develop fungal infection especially on areas between skin folds such as armpits, under breast, between buttocks and inner thighs.
- Who consume immunosuppressive medicines: Those you consume immunosuppressive medicines; their immunity weakens due to which fungus develops easily on their skin.
- Those who are diabetic: Diabetic people also catch fungus easily as they have low immunity. Moreover, it also takes them longer to get rid of infection.
How to prevent Fungal infection?
- Maintain hygiene: It is important to maintain hygiene as unhygienic conditions will provide a suitable atmosphere for fungus to grow.
- Wear cotton clothes: As cotton is breathable and provides airflow for drying out the dampness, there will be less chances for fungus to grow. Also avoid wearing jeans, black clothes, and tight clothes as you may sweat a lot in them.
- Do not use steroid creams: Steroid creams may comfort you for the time being, but they are not the right treatment for fungal infection. Many times, people apply steroid creams like panderm, corederm, which may help them to get rid of redness and inflammation and even hide the fungus but when they stop applying them, fungus spreads faster in their body.
- Avoid scratching: Avoid scratching the areas where you have developed fungal infection as fungus may get into your nails and when they will touch other body parts, they may also get infected.
- Stop applying coconut oil: Coconut oil moisturises your skin, but due to oiliness it may provide suitable conditions for fungus to grow. Instead, you should go for an antifungal moisturiser that helps you in getting rid of fungus and will also keep your skin hydrated and moisturised.
- Wash your clothes properly: If you already have fungal infection, you must wash your clothes inside out properly. Also, do not wash your clothes along with those of other family members as they may catch infection.
What medicines should one take to get rid of fungal infection?
If the fungal infection is in the initial stage, you may only require creams but if it is severe, then a dermatologist may prescribe you tablets along with creams.
Available creams to treat fungal infection:
Available tablets to treat fungal infection:
Remember that you must not start any medication yourself, first consult an experienced and qualified dermatologist who will prescribe you the medication only after the right diagnosis of your skin condition.
Few things to keep in mind:
- Do not discontinue the treatment if the fungal infection on your skin starts showing improvement. Treatment should go on for at least four-six weeks.
- Whenever you use a prescribed cream, you must apply it a little beyond the infected area as fungus slowly tries to spread around the infected area.
- Even after you get rid of the fungal infection, do include anti-fungal powders, shower gels and bathing soaps in your personal hygiene.
Earlier, fungal infection used to occur only among the people of a few cities, which have hot, humid climate but now it has become an epidemic, affecting more people. Moreover, it takes months for patients to get rid of fungal infection.
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