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Fungal infestions of the skin

Fungal infestions of the skin


As a norm, fungi can trigger symptoms of illness anywhere in the body. However, in general, they prefer to attack particular parts of the body. Infections in the genital area or in and around skin folds, for example, are caused with particular frequency by the yeast fungus Candida albicans. Candida infections are also termed thrush. When dermatophytes are involved, the term tinea, to be completed with the name of the concerned part of the body, is used.

Fungus symptoms

In connection with fungal infections of the skin, a series of typical changes and ailments related to the skin appear. Among these are reddening, scaling, the formation of blisters, chapping, as well as itching and burning sensations. These symptoms may appear singly or together in more or less pronounced forms.

One of the most common ailments is athlete’s foot, which almost always starts between the toes. In the beginning, the changes often go unnoticed. The skin softens, reddens and begins to flake off. It is only later that skin tears and inflamed areas appear, which may itch or burn intensely. The infection can spread from the spaces between the toes to the entire foot. Dermatophytes are responsible for 90% of all athlete’s foot infections (tinea pedis).

Overweight or diabetic people, or those with frequent contact to sugar and water, such as a baker, often suffer from infections with the yeast fungus candida Albicans appearing between the fingers. A pronounced reddening of the skin in combination with a burning or itching sensation is characteristic for candida-infections in and around skin folds, e.g. underneath the breasts. In contrast, micro-spores form a sharply outlined, round- to the oval-shaped focus of infection with a highly inflamed edge. They are often transmitted by pets.

With the occurrence of a fungal infection of hair follicles, a formation of blisters is frequently to be observed. Hair will often break off just above the scalp. From there, fungi can enter deeper layers of skin via the hair’s shaft and cause far-spread infections. Another frequently appearing infection is pityriasis Versicolor, caused by the yeast Malassezia furfur. Lentil- to coin-sized changes in the skin, partially flowing into one another and with fine scaling are typical signs. In dark-skinned people, light spots (depigmentation) will appear, while in light-skinned people reddish-brown skin changes will appear.

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