written exclusively for gideononline.com by Jennifer Birch
Fungal infections are a rampant problem in America. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 75,000 hospitalizations for fungal disease in 2017. However, this figure is most likely an underrepresentation, given that fungal infections go largely undiagnosed. Regardless, some of them can cause illness and even death if left untreated. Individuals should be aware of the signs, treatment options, and prevention methods for fungal infections.
What is a fungal infection?
Fungi cause fungal infections. Most relate this type of microorganism to mushrooms, but they also come in the form of mold, mildew, and yeast. When a harmful fungus comes into contact with your skin, especially through an open wound, it can cause an infection. Some types of fungi also release tiny spores into the air as a means of reproduction. Inhaling these spores can also cause a fungal infection to spread in your lungs.
Given that there are multiple types of fungi, it follows that there are also many different diseases that stem from the initial infection. One example is Candidiasis, which is caused by yeast – the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide. Other fungal diseases include dermatophytosis, endemic mycoses, and a whole slew of mold-based illnesses.
Regardless of the cause, fungal infections are usually characterized by redness, itching, irritation, and even swelling of the skin. It can be very uncomfortable for anyone who experiences it and must be treated immediately.
What are the treatment options?
Most fungal infections will go away with the use of over-the-counter treatments. These include antifungal creams, gels, sprays, and ointments.
However, if it doesn’t improve even after medication, it’s best to seek medical assistance. When visiting your local clinic, you will likely be attended to by a nurse knowledgeable in this area. Most specialist nurses have completed an RN to BSN program, which qualifies them as primary care professionals who can diagnose various conditions, including superficial fungal infections. Note down recommendations made by your nurse regarding treatment and future techniques for prevention against fungal infections.
However, if infection becomes more serious, prepare to be directed to a dermatologist or an Infectious Disease specialist. After evaluating the area of infection, they will likely prescribe a more potent antifungal cream than you can’t get over the counter. For fungal infections that have begun to spread throughout your body, they might administer an antifungal injection and prescribe oral medication. Make sure to keep in touch with your doctor throughout the treatment process to ensure that the infection isn’t getting worse.
Prevention is better than cure
Plenty of fungi thrive in hot and humid weather, especially mold. So, to prevent more fungal infections in the future, you need to ensure your home is clean and dry. Properly ventilate rooms, so moisture doesn’t build up inside. It’s also worth investing in air conditioning units and dehumidifiers to further improve air quality at home. Finally, should you find any mold or mildew growing in your house and deal with it immediately, so it doesn’t propagate further.
In addition to keeping your home clean, you should also practice good personal hygiene. This simply means wearing clean clothes and taking baths regularly. At the end of the day, protecting your home against fungus and keeping your body clean is the surest way to prevent fungal diseases.
Would you like to learn more? Check out our in-depth review of fungal infections by Dr. Moskow here.
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