Did you know there are different varieties of fungal infections?

Commonly in summer, fungal infections become ubiquitous due to the heat, humidity and friction.  The 2 commonest types of fungal infections seen in summer are ringworm(dermatophytosis) and candidiasis.


‘Ringworm’ – why the name?

Ringworm is so called because it is seen as a centrally clearing, spreading scaly ring in different parts of the body, but most commonly in the groin folds, often making the sufferer extremely uncomfortable in public places due to the extreme itchiness. The fungi that cause ringworm belong to 1 of 3 genera namely trichophyton, epidermophyton or microsporum.

patches of ringworm

How does one get this ringworm?

The fungi are acquired from others who have the infection directly through shared clothing, footwear, towels, dresses or bed sheets.  They can also be acquired from pet or farm animals and from the soil by agriculturists, garden, trekking and camping enthusiasts.


Ringworm can present as eczema/dandruff too…

Ringworm infection on the palms and soles can be mistaken for eczema or other skin diseases, and appear on the scalp as a localized itchy dandruff or hair loss.  Hair oil left on the scalp or skin encourages fungal growth.


What causes candidal infections?

Candidiasis results from an overgrowth of Candida species of organisms normally present on the skin due to the permissive effect of heat, moisture, occlusion and friction in the body folds.  The spore form of the organism buds into filaments and these filaments feed on the superficial skin cells causing the water between cells from the lower layers to ooze out and cause a moist raw pink area in the body folds.

Candidiasis is one cause of diaper rash in infants.  In adults, it is seen as soreness in the groin folds, toe webs, armpits or below breasts.


What can predispose you to candidiasis?

Diabetes, antibiotics, birth control pills nylon and silk undergarments, tight innerwear, obesity, excessive sweating and sedentary habits encourage candidiasis.  Loose inner wear made of a soft absorbent material, preferably cotton, proper drying of skin after bath, powdering body folds before dressing and changing into loose garments at home help.


If anybody can treat a fungal infection, then why do you need a dermatologist??

Many skin diseases mimic fungal infections and vice versa.  A Dermatologist would be able to diagnose the type of fungal infection one has and prescribe the appropriate antifungal.


How do we get rid of these fungal infections?

There are many highly effective antifungal available today for local application and oral uses, specific to the type of fungal infection one has.  The specific type of fungal infection can be diagnosed with a potassium hydroxide cyanoacrylate mount or fungal culture.

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