Fungi are a member of the eukaryotic family. These organisms belong to the kingdom Chromista. It is derived from the Latin word called “fungus”. Fungi were first discovered by Scottish bacteriologist named Alexander Fleming in the year 1928. It is a small mass of branched and tubular filaments closed by a tough cell wall. Fungi start growing from the tip of filaments that makes up the bodies of any organism. It includes organisms like yeasts, rusts, smuts, molds, and mushrooms. About 300 distinct species of fungi exist, which can cause trouble for human beings. They have significant environmental and medical benefits. Fungi are found everywhere in huge number like in soil, water bodies, air, plants, animals, humans as well as they develop on the food items too.
Infection is referred to as the entering and involvement of different micro-organisms within the body tissues. These infectious components are usually not present in the body. Any fungus conquering the individual remains constricted to the skin, spreads into the cells and tissues, affects the bones or organs, and finally causing major infections to the body. Like every other micro-organism, fungi can be good or bad. Harmful fungal infections, at times, become very difficult for our immune system to handle.
Fungal infections can be broadly classified into four types. They are as follows:
- Fungal nail infections
- Vaginal candidiasis
- Infections in the mouth, throat, and esophagus
- Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)
Fungal nail infections cause in the finger or toenails. It makes the nail become yellow, unnaturally thick, and easily breakable. Such infections only become painful, even caused in severity.
Candidiasis is infections that are caused by yeast, which is a type of fungus. It mainly occurs in the throat, gut, and vagina. The candida is capable of multiplying if the environment around the vagina supports it caused infections.
The fungus called “ringworm” causes it. It is circular in shape. It is usually red in color and itchy in nature. It mainly grows on skin surfaces. Anybody can have ringworms.
Candidiasis, when caused in the mouth or throat, is called thrush. It is one of the common infections, mainly in HIV/ AIDS patients.
Some people breathe in aspergillosis spores, which later on cause lung problems. At times it can cause allergic reactions and weakened immune systems.
People who have very low immunity power are more susceptible to such infections. It is a very genuine public health problem, which is quite common in every country.
Fungal infections are especially common in places where the skin touches or rubs with each other. It develops more in the warm, wet, and sweaty conditions. Areas that mainly get affected are armpits, skin fold regions, groin, as well as in between fingers and toes. Skin acts as a fence against any sort of infection. In case of any cuts in the layers of the skin can allow the fungus to enter causing infections.
Some of the risk factors of these infections to develop are:
- Mainly children
- People with high blood sugar
- Low immunity power
- Pregnant women
- Overweight people
- Inflammatory conditions
- Hyper or hypothyroidism
Though symptoms vary from one person to another, some of the common ones include:
- Swelled up skin
- Puss formation
- Redness in circles
- Cracks on the surface of the skin
- Creamy texture
- White patches
- Oral lesions
The doctor usually takes clippings of the infected area for testing. Such infections result in other underlying effects like loss of weight, uncontrolled diabetes, and urinary tract infection (UTI) at times.
It is very important to identify the cause by analyzing these symptoms. Immediately fix upon an appointment with your doctor to get it treated at the earliest.
Treatment is based on medication. You don’t really need to be hospitalized until unless the infection is severe. In case if the infection spreads up to the bloodstream, then it a serious issue. The doctor will prescribe you anti-fungal drugs which are mainly available in the form of ointments, creams, and tablets. The compositions usually found in these medications are nystatin or amphotericin B. These drugs do not cause any side effects to the patients.