With the onset of the rainy season, there is a rise in fungal infections on our skin. In this column, Dr Sneh Thadani explains the reasons and prevention for fungal infections. She also explains the ever rising anti-fungal drug resistance.
There’s nothing like the first shower of monsoon to bring things to life. Everybody loves to get drenched and soaked in the drizzle that has been awaited for long. However, with the on-set of monsoon come numerous diseases which prevents you from being in the best of your health. The worse hits are the children, who are susceptible to viral and skin infections after getting wet. Patients, mostly children
between age group of 4-10, suffering from allergies and fungal infection, account for around 20% skin and dermatological ailment at the hospitals.
Monsoon brings with it skin and fungal infection that can be downright uncomfortable but you can fight off these fungal infections. Humidity in air and excessive sweating tends to favour fungus to grow and multiply at a rapid rate. Fungus needs moisture and warmth, and monsoon provides it a conducive atmosphere to thrive and multiply. Fungal infection tends to affect folds of the skin, moist areas like groins, armpits, mouth, genitals, under the breasts, webs between fingers and toes, etc. Our skin protects us from fungal/yeast attack, but any cut or break in the continuity of the skin can allow penetration of fungus. It gives rise to rash, eruptions, redness, burning, intolerable itching and abnormal discharges at times. Fungal infection tends to last for many years if not treated well.
Types of fungal infection :
1. Tinea Cruris / Ringworm
2. Tinea Alba (Pityriasis Alba)
3. Tinea Versicolor (Pityriasis Versicolor)
4. Pityriiasis Rosea
5. Fungal Infection of Nails (Onychomycosis)
Prevention is better than cure
1. Hygiene is important to keep fungal infection at bay. Take bath twice a day and change your inner garments too. Keep your private area clean and dry.
2. Avoid getting drenched and always carry an umbrella. If you do get drenched, one must immediately follow preventive measures because if left untreated, it can leave permanent scars on the skin.
3. Fungal infection is contagious. Therefore, one should avoid sharing towels, handkerchief, and inner garments with anybody. Rinse your new clothes before trying them on as they could have been tried on by others before you.
4. Keep a spare set of clothes handy just in case you unexpectedly get wet while reaching office or anywhere else.
5. Use pure cotton clothes as cotton tends to absorb moisture, thus keeping your body dry. Synthetic fibers tend to cause fungal infection. Don’t wear wet clothes. Also, wet shoes should be changed instantly.
6. Wear loose fitting clothes so that air circulation is proper in the groin areas and axillae.
7. Never keep your skin wet for too long. Take bath with lukewarm water and apply plain anti- fungal powder especially in the folds of your skin.
8. In case of a skin infection, use an anti-fungal powder to avoid any further infection. These small precautions go a long way in having a healthy and infection-free skin.
Anti-fungal drug resistance
Lately, it has been observed that there is a rise in anti-fungal drug resistance. It is essential that once the treatment is given, one must follow up even if the entire infection has settled down. This is because fungal infection is highly recurrent and contagious. It is also important that the entire family should get treated at the same time period, so that the treatment is effective and it also reduces the recurrence rate.
Read More Article From Dr Sneh Thadani: Skin Care for Monsoons!
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Dr. Sneh Thadani
MBBS DNB DERMATOLOGY
Head of Dermatology Department, SSD Hospital