Athlete's foot

Fungal Conditions

Fungal infections of the skin can be embarrassing and painful, with side effects such as redness, itching, and peeling.

Fungal infections are usually manageable with medicated ointments or antibiotics.

So how do I know if I have a fungal condition?

Athlete's foot

Itching, Redness, and Odor

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Fungal diseases can cause itching, burning, or swelling. Some conditions such as athlete's foot may even cause blistering.


Visible Symptoms

Redness, cracking, chafing, and peeling may indicate a skin-related fungal infection. The affected hair or skin can also become brittle.

Foul Odor

An abnormal odor may also accompany a fungal infection. Because fungus multiplies and feeds off of sweat, it can produce a foul scent.

Let's discuss what places you at greater risk for a fungal disease...

Patients with a Weakened Immune System Face the Highest Risks

Many of us come into contact with fungal spores on a regular basis. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with weak immune systems face the greatest risk of infection, including those who:

  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Are undergoing cancer treatment
  • Take medications that weaken the immune system

So what exactly causes fungal conditions?

Diseases Occur When a Fungus Multiplies and Spreads

Growth & Multiplication of the Fungus

While some fungi are found outdoors, many strains live on our hair and skin. Some spores may even reproduce through the air and can be inhaled. These spores thrive and multiply in warm, moist, and dark environments

Spread of Infection

Some fungal conditions are more contagious than others. Ringworm is highly contagious, while athlete's foot is only mildly contagious. Most yeast infections are not. Fungal diseases are usually spread through contact with a pet or person who has the infection.

So how worried should I be about my fungal condition?
"Fungal disease can affect anyone. Most fungi are not dangerous. but some types can be harmful to your health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Prevention Is Easy

Don't Share Personal Items

Towels, hats, combs, and other personal items such as nail clippers are common culprits of spreading fungal infections.

Keep Your Body Clean & Dry

The feet and groin are two areas that easily become sweaty. To avoid an infection, try to keep these areas clean and dry, and avoid wearing tight clothing in humid conditions. Also, be sure to wash your hands consistently.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and taking vitamins can help strengthen your immune system and ward off infection.

How can I find out if my symptoms are caused by a fungal condition?

Testing Can Reveal the Source of a Fungal Infection

Sometimes, a visual exam is all it takes to diagnose a fungal infection. Conditions such as jock itch can be diagnosed based on the distinct location and appearance of the irritation.

For fungal conditions of the skin, nails, or hair, the doctor will typically take samples or scrapings from the affected area. The samples are then evaluated under a microscope.

A culture may be necessary to identify more serious or systemic fungal infections. This process is typically completed in a lab and may take several weeks to identify the specific fungal organism causing your condition.

So how can I get rid of a fungal disease?

It Depends on the Severity

Home Remedies

There are several at-home remedies that can minimize symptoms of mild infections, including soaking with Epsom salt, peroxide, or apple cider vinegar.

Topical Medication

Antifungal creams can be used to treat a variety of infections affecting the hair, skin, and nails. The treatment area should be clean and dry before applying the medication.

Oral Medication

For more persistent fungal infections, your doctor may prescribe oral medication in conjunction with other remedies.

While some fungal infections can be stubborn, treatment is usually successful...

Schedule an Appointment with Your Doctor

Persistent itching and irritation can seem unbearable. If you are struggling with a fungal infection, speak with a doctor to receive the treatment you need

Stephen P. Hardy, M.D.

Stephen P. Hardy, M.D.

Dr. Stephen P. Hardy is a renowned plastic surgeon with prestigious national affiliations:

  • American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
  • American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA)

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (406) 728-3811.

Contact Us (406) 728-3811

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