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Home :: Fungal Rashes

Common Fungal Rashes and infections

What is fungal rashes ?

Various germs such as fungi and bacteria live harmlessly on the skin and inside the body. However certain types of fungus, or overgrowths of normally harmless types can cause the symptoms of a fungal infection of the skin.Most fungal skin conditions are not serious and are usually not easily spread from person to person. Infections deeper in the body can be more serious.

Fungal rashes are common and can be difficult to diagnose. Rashes to the body and trunk may occur secondarily to infection with tinea corpora (ringworm) or tinea versicolour. In this section, we will discuss both of these common fungal rashes. In addition, athlete's foot and tinea cruris (jock itch) will also be discussed.

Types of fungal rashes and infections:

1. TINEA CRURIS: Also known as jock itch, causes a reddened, inflamed, and itchy rash to an area of the groin or the buttock crease. Treatment will require an anti-fungal cream (i.e. Lotrimin, Micactin) which is available without a prescription. Apply the medication to only the affected area 3 times a day, keeping the area clean and dry. Clean all under clothing as well. If the condition does not clear within a week, consult your doctor.

2. TINEA VERSICOLOUR: These fungal skin rashes affect the trunk (back and chest are common) in sun exposed areas ("sun fungus"). The appearance of tinea is a brownish, flat, often scaly, rash that may cause areas of depigmentation in dark-skinned people. Treatment is with a special shampoo (Selsun shampoo) or a 2.5% selenium sulphide lotion that must be applied to the area daily for 2 weeks. Often these rashes require shampoo use over a long period of time (weeks) to prevent recurrence. The affected area will be harder to sun tan leading some to believe the treatment was not effective. Other medical treatment involves the use of 1% clotrimazole, 2% miconazole, or 1% ciclopirox olamine creams or lotions daily. Extensive infections may also require oral agents (ketoconazole).

3. RINGWORM: This infection is a commonly occurrence in children. It is identified by a red, circular, "ring like" eruption that can be successfully treated with a nonprescription, anti-fungal cream (see those listed above). Apply to the area 3 times a day, keeping the area clean and dry. See your doctor or paediatrician if there is no improvement within a week.

4. ATHLETE'S FOOT: This infection occurs mostly between the toes and in the web spaces. A red, itchy rash is common.

Treatment includes keeping the area clean an dry and using a nonprescription antifungal cream (3 times a day) such as (Micactin) or (Lotrimin). The infection may recur after the patient wears old tennis shoes and socks. New shoes may help in recurrent cases of athlete's foot.

5. Fungal scalp infections: This fungal infection is more difficult to eradicate and will require oral anti-fungal medications (griseofulvin, Ketoconazole) prescribed by your physician.

6. Nail infections (onychomycosis) : Onychomycosis is the name for any fungal nail infection. Tinea unguium (ringworm of the nails) is a common one. The nails become malformed, thickened and crumbly. Not all nails affected like this are caused by fungal infections, but it is a common cause. Toenail infections are commonly linked with athlete's foot. Fingernails can be affected too.

Symptoms of fungal infections

The symptoms and appearances of a fungal skin infection depend on the type of fungus causing it and the part of the body affected.

The rash may have a variety of appearances. Some are red, scaly and itchy, whereas others can produce a fine scale similar to dry skin. The site of infection may be just one area of the body, or there may be several infected areas.

Fungal infections of the scalp or beard can lead to hair loss. Fungal rashes can sometimes be confused with other skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Causes of fungal rashes and infections.

number of situations make it more likely that a fungal infectin will develop. People are more at risk of fungal infections if they have:

  • recently taken a course of antibiotics
  • an immune system weakened by cancer or HIV infection
  • been taking oral steroids
  • diabetes

Moist skin encourages fungal infections. This means fungal infections are more likely when skin is not dried properly after sweating heavily or bathing, or when it is covered with a material that does not allow sweat to evaporate. Damage to the skin surface, such as a cut or graze, can also encourage fungi to grow.

Fungal infections inside the body can cause more serious health problems than those on the skin. These infections only affect people whose immune systems are not working properly as a result of another illness or treatments for cancer.

Helping prevent fungal infections

Taking these steps may help to reduce the risk of getting a fungal rashes and infection:

  1. people with diabetes need to keep good control of their blood sugar.
  2. change socks or tights daily.
  3. dry the skin carefully after bathing.
  4. choose fabrics that allow the skin to "breathe" - natural fibres such as cotton are better than nylon or polyester for underwear.
  5. wear loose fitting clothes and underwear

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