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Welcome to Fungal Skin and Nail Conditions

Fungal Skin and Nail Conditions

The Facts on Fungal Skin and Nail Infections

Fungal infections are very common and can affect your skin, nails and hair. They are caused by two group of fungi which invade and grow in dead keratin which is a protein that makes up your skin, nails and hair. The two main causes of fungal nail and skin infections are: dermatophytes and yeast. 

The organism known as Candida albicans  is the main cause of yeast infections. This organism normally lives on your skin and does not cause any harm unless it starts to multiply uncontrollably resulting in a yeast infection. There are a number of reasons why the Candida albicans may start to multiply uncontrollably. Some of these reasons include:

The use of antibiotics to fight harmful bacteria tend to kill off harmless bacteria living on the skin leaving vacant spaces allowing the existing yeast on the skin to grow to occupy the vacant spaces.    If you are obese or have gained weight during pregnancy, you will tend to sit more causing your skin to be moist which also encourages the growth of yeast. 
Steroids and cancer medications cause the immune system to become weak allowing yeast to grow and flourish. If your hands are frequently in water, the moisture might enhance the growth of yeast.

Dermatophytes on the other hand only live in dead tissues. They can easily infect your nails and dead skin cells. Dermatophyte infections are very contagious and can be easily be transferred through direct contact with an infected human or animal or by touching an object touched by an infected person.

Symptoms of Fungal Skin and Nail Infections

Fungal skin infections normally result in a variety of rashes on the skin. The rash normally starts out as an itchy, dry, scaly red patch on the skin and gets bigger if the infection is not treated. 

A fungal nail infection can affect the entire nail or parts of it. Parts that are commonly affected are the root of the nail, the nail plate and the nail bed. A fungal nail infection causes the nail to become thickened, discolored or distorted. Fungal nail infections are more commonly found in the toenails than in the finger nails. 

Treating Fungal Skin and Nail Infections

There are a variety of treatment options for fungal nail infections. A fungal nail infection can be treated with antifungal nail paint; however, Terbinafine tablets are more effective because they kill or stop the growth of the organism that have caused the infection. One tablet a day is normally prescribed. This tablet does have some side effects; however, in general, only one out of every ten users experience these side effects. Very severe or painful cases may require surgery to have the nail removed. Laser treatment is probably the most expensive treatment as it uses a high speed laser to destroy the fungus. 

Common side-effects

Suggestions

Indigestion and Stomach Ache Do not eat rich or spicy food.
Diarrhoea Drink a lot of water to replace any lost fluids
Headache, joint and muscle pains and aches Use a suitable painkiller
Loss of appetite, itching and skin rashes Can be ignored unless they become persistent.

Fungal skin infections are also treated through the use of antifungal medications that is normally put directly onto the affected area. These medications are available in forms of paints, creams, lotion and powers and are generally sold as over the counter medication. A variety of these antifungal medications and how they should be used can be obtained from NetDoctor. When it comes to fungal skin infections, Lotriderm is the medication of choice, especially where there is some inflammation of the skin. This medication works by killing the fungus or preventing its growth and relieves redness, swelling, itching, and other discomfort of fungus infections. This medication does have some side effects; however, most of them do not happen very often. Common side effects include:

Blistering

Numbness of the hands and feet

Peeling

Swelling 

Preventing Fungal Skin or Nail Infections

You can prevent fungal skin or nail infections by:

Keeping your skin dry and clean

Losing weight to prevent sweating and excessive skin folds

Avoiding direct contact with a person with a yeast or dermatophytes infection

Not sure if you have a fungal skin or nail infection?

If you believe that you might have a fungal skin or nail infection but are not sure, you can always get at free consultation at this website. The Online Clinic provides free photo assessments for skin and nail conditions but they do charge for any treatment. If you are unsure what is causing your skin or nail infection and you are not able to upload photos to a website then you should make an appointment with your GP. Sometimes the GP will need to swab the skin or take nail clippings to send to a laboratory before a prescription can be issued. 

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