Fungal Infections

Fungus Treatment in Novato

Some fungi are part of the normal flora of the skin. Common fungal infections can affect the skin, hair, and nails. Typically the infections caused by fungus are superficial, affecting the outer layers of skin. A healthy person will not develop an internal or systemic infection from fungus. In warm, moist areas, fungus can thrive. With overgrowth of fungus, infections can develop. These infections are contagious and can readily spread from one person to another. Common surfaces that are contaminated by fungus are shower surfaces, pool areas, and gym mats.

Fungal infections are usually itchy, red, scaly, and may be ring-shaped–red and scaly on the outside with normal skin in the center of the ring.

Athlete’s Foot is caused by direct contact with a fungus. Most people contract this by walking barefoot near a pool, on a locker room floor, and even on a hotel room carpet. One study showed that 50% of hotel carpets are contaminated by fungus. The rash usually starts between the toes and may spread to the surrounding skin and nails. Over-the-counter anti-fungal medicines can be helpful, although prescription antifungals may be necessary.

Ringworm can be spread by contact with an infected person or animal (usually a pet). If the ringworm is in a limited area, topical antifungals will likely be effective at clearing the infection. Widespread infections may require prescription oral antifungal medications.

Jock Itch affects the creases at the top of the thigh and groin area. When athletes stay in sweaty clothing, the moist environment in the groin area encourages overgrowth of fungus, leading to an itchy, red, scaly ring-like rash.

Nail Fungus causes thickened, yellow, crumbly abnormal nails. Often, the toenails are more commonly affected as a result of spread of athlete’s foot. Fingernails can be affected as well. Nail salons are a source of infection for fingernails. About 25% of the population is more susceptible to fungus, so the tendency to get nail fungus can run in families.

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