Understanding Fungal Infections: Types, Causes, and Symptoms

August 9, 2023by Yuvraj Patil296

We all deal with infections at least once in our life and some infections are super-contagious in nature, which means it spreads easily from one person to another through direct contact. One such contagious infection we frequently come across, especially during monsoon is a fungal infection. Although it is not fatal or life-threatening, suffering from any kind of fungal infection can be extremely uncomfortable and uncontrollably itchy at times if not treated on time. The good news is, early diagnoses and treatment can prevent the infection from spreading further while getting worse.

What exactly is fungal infection?

Fungal infections can severely infest and grow on any part of the body. Fungi are breeding microorganisms that tend to originate and grow beneath the skin cells. In some cases, these fungi are usually present in the body, but they tend to multiply at rapid speed in patients leading to a breakout of infection.

Some common types of fungal infections and symptoms

In some cases, a fungal infection is caused under specific conditions for instance, by coming in direct contact with fungi or inhaling. This is why most fungal infections tend to occur majorly affecting the skin, lungs, or nails. These fungi release their spores by coming in contact while penetrating the skin. At times, these fungal attacks don’t harm an individual who has a robust immune system. But, those with weaker immune systems fail to combat such infections. Here are some commonly found fungal infections:-

  1. Athlete’s foot

An athlete’s foot is also referred to as tinea pedis and it majorly affects the skin of hands, nails, or feet. This type of fungi infection has excellent ability to develop and survive in the warm and humid areas of the body, especially between your finger and toes. Most commonly occurring among athletes, it quickly affects people who come in direct contact with the infected person, or contaminated surfaces. An athlete’s foot can show symptoms of stinging, itching, or burning sensation anywhere on your skin between your fingers or toes. It appears to be cracky, blistery, and peeled.

  1. Jock itch

Jock itch, also referred to as tinea cruris, is a type of fungal infection that affects the skin of the groin area, inner thighs, and buttocks. This type of fungi also grow and survives in warm and humid areas of the body. Symptoms of jock itch are itchiness, redness, flaky, changes in the colour of skin, and rashes that worsen with sweating or exercising.

  1. Ringworm

Ringworm usually affects the skin or scalp and it majorly grows on damp, moist, and humid areas of the skin. Some of the common symptoms are itchy, scaly, and reddish skin with patches developed in red rings. You can also notice blisters, bald patches on the scalp, and rings with reddish edges, infected nails with cracked or discoloured appearance.

  1. Yeast infection

Yeast infection, also known as candida albicans is another fungal infection that affects the genitals, mouth, urinary tract, or gastrointestinal tract in the affected individual. Although this fungus is usually present in the skin, it overreacts in a favourable environment and further grows to affect the skin. This fungi usually affects the mouth or throat, leading to oral thrush. It usually appears as white patches in the mouth or throat which develop if left untreated. Some of the symptoms are itchy, white patches, and a painful mouth with swelling or redness.

  1. Toenail fungus

Toenail fungus commonly known as onychomycosis majorly affects your toenails and fingernails. Some of the symptoms of toenail fungus are changes in the colour and shape of the nail, thick and flaky skin.

Ways to treat fungal infections

Some of the best ways to treat fungal infection is through prescribed medication belonging to the class of anti-fungal drugs. Those suffering from fungal infections can gain considerable relief from its symptoms with the proper dosage and hygiene as it helps to ward off fungal infections present in the body. Those with weaker immune systems are at higher risk of developing fungal infections.

Ways to prevent fungal infection growth

The only mantra to prevent fungal infections and their growth by maintaining a better hygiene routine. Here are a few things you should do:-

  • Keep your skin dry and clean, especially at the manifolds of your skin
  • Ensure to wash your hands more often after you’ve come in contact with people and animals, especially during monsoons.
  • Refrain from using other’s towels, soap, or any other personal care item.
  • Be cautious while doing gym or swimming by cleaning your hands regularly.

Yuvraj Patil

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