About FungAl infections
Our skin, nails, and hair can be vulnerable to fungal infection at any age. Fungal infections can be uncomfortable and difficult to deal with, especially for children. Symptoms and treatment can vary; most of them present as a rash, though the symptoms can vary from patient to patient and fungus to fungus. At the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Aradhna Saxena treats patients in the Greater Philadelphia area for all types and stages of fungal infections. If you have a fungal infection, it is important that you see a dermatologist to receive a medical diagnosis. Having a diagnosis and proper treatment will both relieve your symptoms and stop the infection from spreading. If you or your child has a rash, especially a rash with fever, that you have been attempting to treat on your own, we urge you to schedule a visit with Dr. Saxena as soon as possible at our Fort Washington, Lansdale, or Willow Grove, PA office. Most fungal infections need to be treated with a prescription antifungal medication.
Fungal Infection Causes
Fungal infections are quite common. They can be contracted by skin-to-skin contact, through a mucous membrane (like the eyes or nose), or through an abrasion, sore, or other open wound. Individuals who have compromised immune systems have a higher chance of getting a fungal infection. Untreated conditions such as diabetes and HIV, as well as certain medications, can cause depressed immunity. The most common way patients contract fungal infections is by wearing and/or sharing athletic or work clothes or shoes that have been exposed to the fungus. The fungus can then spread in the dark, warm, and moist folds and creases of the body.
Some fungal infections are quite aggressive, so it's important to receive proper treatment. They can spread both externally and internally. Further, you may have a condition that looks like a fungal infection but is something else, such as a bacterial infection or psoriasis. The best course of action is always to seek treatment from a dermatologist. A dermatologist can also provide treatments that can help minimize scarring.
Fungal Infection Symptoms
COMMON FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Tinea pedia (Athlete's foot)
Athlete's foot is a burning, itching rash on the sole of the foot and between the toes. It is highly contagious and can be contracted by going barefoot in communal showers or by wearing sweaty socks and shoes that have been exposed to the fungus. If you haven't had any success in trying to treat your Athlete's foot with OTC medications, you should see a dermatologist. Athlete's foot can become a chronic condition and an aggressive infection.
Fingernail and toenail fungus
While there are many over-the-counter remedies for nail fungus, it is not always a harmless infection. Sometimes, nail fungus on the toes and fingernails can be a symptom of another medical condition. Further, if left untreated, it can cause a significant odor and can disfigure your nail beds and nails.
Tinea cruris (Jock itch)
Tinea cruris, often called "jock itch," presents on the skin of the buttocks, genitals, and the crease between the thigh and the buttocks. Typically, jock itch is red rash that develops painful, itchy blisters. Individuals who sweat excessively, don't bathe well or often, or are overweight can be more prone to developing tinea cruris.
Contrary to its name, ringworm does not actually involve a worm. It is a fungal infection that can develop on the body, arms, scalp, and beard area and looks like a large red circle. Ringworm is itchy, and sometimes the lesions are painful.
Tinea versicolor is a fungus that causes red or white scaly spots on the arms, upper chest, neck, and back. It is caused by the Malassezia furfur fungus and can be more visible after sun exposure. Patients often believe the lesions are "sun spots."
Yeast infections are very common and can occur on the skin, in the mouth, and in mucous membranes. Yeast (candida) infections in the mouth are typically known as "oral thrush." Cutaneous candidiasis, or a yeast infection of the skin, is usually a red, itchy rash that appears in bodily creases and folds; however, it can develop anywhere.
Fungal Infection Treatment Options
Most funal infections need to be treated with antifungal medication. Many of these are available over-the-counter without a prescription. However, if these remedies are not helping, or if the condition has worsened, it's important to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and prescription treatment. If you have a skin condition along with a fever, or if your rash is spreading abnormally rapidly, please go to your nearest emergency room for treatment.
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Fungal Treatments For All Ages
They symptoms of fungal infections can range from mildly uncomfortable to significantly affecting your quality of life. They are particularly difficult if they are contagious or are affecting children. If you have not had any relief from using OTC remedies, Dr. Saxena and her team of experienced medical professionals can help. We invite you to schedule an appointment at our Fort Washington, Lansdale, or Willow Grove, PA location.