Fungal infection of the skin and mucosa (mycosis) is one of the most common that occurs in summer. With this article, we want to help you know a little more about them. How are fungi spread? What types of mushrooms are there? How can we prevent or treat them?
Before we start, we explain what exactly mushrooms are, and it is that, without a doubt, they are a very special living being. “Fungi are living beings that form a kingdom of their own, that is, they are neither plants, nor animals, nor bacteria. In fact, they lack chlorophyll, leaves and roots, and cannot synthesize their own nutrients.”
This means that they must live as parasites, mainly on plants and, to a lesser extent, on animals.
Why Do Fungi Appear On The Skin?
The factors that mainly favour the development of fungal infections, and especially in the summer season, are:
- The heat.
- Inadequate hygiene.
- The fact of inhabiting non-ventilated places.
- The use of community pools and sports facilities.
However, most of the fungi that develop dermatomycosis tend to coexist with humans without causing any pathology.
Symptoms Of Fungus On The Skin
In this sense, the AEDV also points out that infections caused by fungi that are exclusive parasites of man do not usually lead to great symptoms and can even last for years.
So the contagion in these cases depends more on individual characteristics and the risk factors mentioned above. On the other hand, the aggressiveness with which a fungus infects humans depends on its ability to synthesize enzymes that allow invasion into the skin.
Who Is Affected The Most?
Regarding skin infections, it should be noted that they affect both women and men in the same way and occur in all ages. Of course, the AEDV specifies that some of them are almost exclusive to childhood, such as ringworms of the scalp, for example, while others, such as nail infections, are more typical of adults and their incidence grows with the age.
Types Of Fungal Skin Infections (Mycosis)
Fungi infect humans through different mechanisms. Depending on the degree of invasion, mycoses can be superficial, intermediate and deep or systemic. Thus, within the mycoses that affect the skin, three groups are distinguished:
- Pityriasis Versicolor: It causes rounded spots on the skin, which change colour depending on the time of year, and produces flaking with rubbing.
- Candidiasis: Whitish plaques appear and cause itching and a burning sensation.
- Ringworms: Symptoms of ringworm of the head can vary, but it usually presents as bald, scaly-looking patches that are itchy.
Both pityriasis Versicolor and candidiasis are caused by different types of fungi (called yeasts ), while ringworms are produced by a specific group of filamentous fungi that can feed on keratin, a fundamental component of the most superficial layer of the skin. hair and nails.
Those so-called yeasts that cause the diseases mentioned in the first place are present, in a harmless way, on the skin or in the mucous membranes, respectively, of a large part of the healthy adult population, so they need some added conditioning to develop and become aggressive.
For its part, the fungi that cause ringworms are never found on healthy skin, and its spread can occur from the soil, infected animals or other people.
Recommendations To Prevent Fungi
In fact, getting rid of fungal infection on the skin is simple and possible if the following recommendations are taken into account in the face of contagion risk factors that, as we have mentioned, increase at this time of year: heat, humidity, improper hygiene, etc .:
- Avoid walking without shoes in public and humid places, such as swimming pools, showers, gyms and changing rooms.
- Dry the skin well, focusing on areas with folds, submammary area and on the feet, mainly between the toes.
- Remove wet swimsuit, especially in the case of women, to prevent the proliferation of Candida albicans (candidiasis), the most common fungus in vaginal infections. In this case, soaps with an appropriate pH (between 3.5 and 5.5) should be used and the use of scented oils, soaps or deodorants should be avoided.
- Do not share a towel, comb, or sponge with another person.
- Do not use synthetic fibre underwear.
- It is advisable to change socks several times a day and use leather shoes and natural materials, as well as avoid closed shoes or shoes made with materials that prevent perspiration.