Fungal infections, as the very name suggests, are infections caused by different fungi. Fungal infections affect people of all ages. There are many different types of fungal infections which are generally classified according to the fungi that affect the skin or mucous membranes.
Can infection get into bloodstream?
In some cases the infection does not remain localized onto the skin (which is a typical scenario). Instead, fungi affect deeper tissues or even enter the bloodstream causing systemic fungal infection. Fortunately, this is not a common course of the disease and it generally affects only immunocompromised individuals.
Types of Fungal Infections
Dermatophyte infections are most commonly reported fungal infections. They are caused by Dermatophytes which are attracted to the skin, nails and hair. Some of these infections are Athlete's foot, different nail infections, ringworm of various body parts (the groin, the exposed areas of body and the scalp).
Yeast infections are another group of fungal infections. They include intertrigo (a yeast infection of skin folds caused by Candida albicans), pityriasis versicolor (a yeast infection caused by Pityrosporum ovale) and thrush (a yeast infection of different parts of the skin, oral cavity or the vagina caused by Candida albicans).
Fungal Skin Infections Causes and Risk Factors
Some fungal infections affect people of all ages and are equally distributed among healthy people as well as immunocompromised individuals while other are more frequent among people whose health is already jeopardized by some existing condition.
Many fungal skin infections caused by Candida yeast frequently occur after a course of antibiotics. The infection is even more likely to occur if one uses antibiotics for a long period of time. Fungal skin infections are also frequent among people who are taking steroids, patients suffering from diabetes and obese individuals. If one has already had a fungal infection, he/she is at higher risk of contracting the infection again. Finally, these infections are frequent among patients with weak immune system. They even tend to develop into more complex conditions- systemic fungal infections. Prevention of Fungal Skin Infections
It is moist skin that generally provides with the best environment for fungal multiplication. This is why one easily contracts fungal infection if he/she does not dry the skin properly after sweating or bathing, or is prone to wear tight clothing made of synthetic material. So by drying the skin and wearing proper clothing, preferably the one made of cotton, one can prevent some fungal infections. Clothes made of natural fiber allow the skin to breathe.
Some fungal infections can be transmitted, so in order to prevent these from being contracted one should avoid sharing towels, hair brushes, combs and other personal items.
Flip-flops and plastic shoes are necessary to be worn in communal area like swimming poles. By changing shoes one wears every two or three days he/she may also prevent Athlete's foot.
Finally, immuocompromised people may need to be thoroughly monitored for fungal infections and they generally require more complex treatment since initial skin infection tends to progress into systemic.