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When Fungi takes the Fun Away

| Articles | February 17, 2014

Everybody loves the outdoors. Swimming, hiking in the woods, or simply being out in the sun can be so much fun. However, exposure to the environment also poses some risks especially on vulnerable skin exposed to damp and wet surfaces. Our skin is prone to illnesses and infections since this is the most external part of our whole body, always open for free roaming bacteria and viruses. It is very important for each person to take care of his own skin, since it would not look pleasant if there’s something wrong with it. One thing a person must remember when taking care of his skin is to fight certain fungal infections that may arise due to exposure to damp environments.

Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that are closely structured like animals but are often associated with plant life. Yeast, mushroom, and molds are examples of fungi. Often harmless, the escalation of growth of certain fungi that has become problematic is often termed as fungal infection. This kind of infection does not need any major medical treatment because there are actually a number of anti-fungal preparations available over the counter. Some fungi actually lives in our body but rarely spreads below the skin and, for that reason, minor infections are usually easy to treat. These fungal infections can be found on different parts of our body, including our skin, nails, and hair. This particular infection is caused by certain “dermatophytes” — a parasitic fungi affecting a person’s skin, hair, and nails. There are three classifications of dermatophytes, namely: the Trichophyton (affecting our skin, hair and nails), Microsporum (causes ringworm epidemics in children), and Epidermophyton (fungi that grows on the outermost layer of the skin, causing tinea). These fungal infections often occue at the onset of puberty, except for tinea capitis, a fungal infection that is often seen on the hair of children.

Several types of fungal infections are commonly seen in different parts of our bodies. Tinea is a type of fungal infection that affects the hair, skin, or nails. If it is found in the skin, this usually begins as a small read area the size of a pea. As it grows, it eventually spreads out in a circle or ring. This infection affects different parts of the body including the scalp, arms, legs, and chest. Another type of fungal infection is commonly called the Athlete’s Foot. This usually appears between the toes but can also affect the toenails and the bottom or the sides of the feet. Another infection called Jock Itch affects the groin and the upper thighs. One misconception about Jock Itch is that only men and boys get the infection when in truth, even women and girls can get this very irritating skin problem.

Even our nails are not exempt from “fungal invasion.” Candida is a yeast infection that affects the skin around the nails but other candida variants actually cause diaper rash and thrush-white patches found on babies’ mouth. This type of infections is very similar to the yeast infection developed by women around their vagina.

Cure for fungal infections come in different shapes, forms, and sizes. There are different anti-fungal medications that can relieve the itchiness, redness, and slight pain caused by these fungal attacks. It depends on what particular infection a person might have, and from there they can know what kind of anti-fungal medication to get. Most of these medications are topical, meaning it can come in the form or creams or ointments. These medications are readily available at drugstores but it is always advisable to consult a doctor to know determine the best and most appropriate anti-fungal medication once should use.

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