There are many different kinds of germs, but fungus commonly causes infections of the skin. Your skin is a barrier for microorganisms that can cause infection, but your skin can also become infected. Fungal skin infections commonly cause inflammation, a red rash and sometimes penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin. The most commonly diagnosed fungal skin infections are jock itch, candidiasis, ringworm and athlete’s foot. See your physician for a definite diagnosis.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that often appears as a peeling rash between the toes. Although not serious, athlete’s foot can cause intense itching, peeling of the skin and a scaly rash. Fungus thrives in damp, warm areas, which is why the feet are a common place for fungal infections. Athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails, making them discolored and brittle. To prevent Athlete’s foot, keep your feet dry, wear shoes in public showers and wear socks that absorb moisture. Athlete’s foot can spread to other areas of the body, so it is important to see a doctor who can prescribe anti-fungal creams and oral medications for the infection.
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, characterized by a round ring of inflammation with healthy skin in the center. Ringworm is technically called tinea corporis, but most people call the contagious infection ringworm due to the circular rash that distinguishes the condition from other infections. Ringworm can appear anywhere on the body but most often appears on the extremities and trunk. You can have ringworm without the characteristic circular rash, so contact your doctor for a definite diagnosis. Physicians often treat ringworm with topical ointments and prescribe oral medications for severe cases that cover a large part of the body. Ringworm is difficult to prevent, but frequent hand-washing is an effective way to prevent most skin infections.
Jock itch involves the groin, genital area and inner thighs. Adult men and adolescent boys are most commonly affected due to involvement in sports and physical activities. The red, raised rash may blister and ooze, resulting in intense itching, burning and skin discoloration. Your doctor may prescribe oral anti-fungal medications if topical anti-fungal ointments do not improve your condition. Wear clothes that allow the skin to breathe, keep your groin area dry and wash athletic-supporters frequently to prevent jock itch.
Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by candida, a yeast-like fungus that thrives in the creases of the skin. People who are diabetic, immune-compromised or obese are especially at risk for candidiasis. Candida can also cause diaper rashes in babies, fungal infections of the mouth called thrush and vaginal infections in women, often due to antibiotic treatment for another infection. You may experience a pimple-like rash, redness and intense itching in the affected area. See your physician for a confirmed diagnosis of candidiasis and treatment for the condition, which includes anti-fungal skin creams, ointments and oral medications.