Skin fungus | mold | yeast | types of fungi |

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Mushrooms are a natural part of our lives. You don’t get mushrooms, you have them. Even if you are completely healthy, fungi can be detected inside and outside the human body at any time. They are found in various locations, for example on the mucous membranes of the mouth and in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, colonization of the skin by human pathogenic fungi is not the same as a fungal disease. But certain circumstances can occur that lead to an infection: weak immune systems or skin damage are the triggers here. This leads to infection and skin changes typical of a fungal disease, dermatomycosis.

Fungal infections, especially athlete’s foot, are among the most common illnesses. It is estimated that approximately 25% of the population suffers from fungal skin infections. Such an infection is often not recognized by those affected or is only recognized very late.

What is a mushroom?

Mushrooms are plants and occur throughout the world in an incredible diversity of species. Some mushrooms are edible and considered a delicacy, such as chanterelles, porcini mushrooms and truffles. There are also certain types of mushrooms needed to ripen cheese.

We owe characteristic cheeses such as Roquefort, Camembert and Gorgonzola to these types of mold. We also often have to deal with yeast fungi in our daily lives. They are needed for baking bread, brewing beer and making wine. Even in medicine, mushrooms are a useful and even irreplaceable ingredient. They are necessary for the production of certain antibiotics, such as penicillin and streptomycin.

Which mushrooms are dangerous for us?

As a rule, mushrooms are not really dangerous for a healthy body. But they can cause nasty infections. There are about 100,000 to 300,000 different species of fungi worldwide, but only about 100 of them can cause fungal diseases in humans. This special form is called human pathogenic fungi. They are not fundamentally different from mushrooms that occur in nature or are used to produce food.

Human pathogenic fungi are divided into three groups:

  • Dermatophytes
  • Yeasts
  • Molds and other fungi

This classification is of particular practical importance. Because not all fungus medicines help equally well against all three groups of fungi. For example, the effect of griseofulvin is mainly limited to dermatophytes, and active ingredients such as nystamin act mainly against yeast.

Where can I get infected?

The possibilities of contact with mushrooms are as diverse as the types of mushrooms. Fungi are very widespread in our environment – and therefore there are countless opportunities for transmission, for example in nature!

Fungi that are pathogenic to humans also occur in soil and plants. If you are frequently in contact with these sources of infection, for example at work, and also have a “predisposition” to fungal infections, a fungal disease may develop. Gardeners and farmers are particularly affected here; Pets can also transmit fungus to people.

What if a family member is affected by a fungal disease?

The answer is simple: then it is quite possible that the fungus will also be transmitted to other family members. Transmission can occur through things that are used by different people:

  • towels
  • Towel
  • Scissors
  • combs
  • to brush

Transmission can also occur through skin scissors at hairdressers or pedicures. If they are not cleaned properly after a client, fungus can remain on them. If small lesions occur on the skin, the fungi can directly reach the deeper layers of the skin.

Where can I get infected with athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is usually passed from person to person. It’s easy to explain how this happens. Every person, healthy or not, constantly loses fine skin cells when walking barefoot. He spreads them invisibly on the ground wherever he goes.

When you suffer from a fungal infection, these scales contain fungal particles. These particles are now “collected” by healthy people, which means that if you enter this invisible trail, fungi can settle on your skin.

Not surprisingly, the spaces between the toes are the first point of attack for fungi. They are the first to be affected and from here other parts of the body can become infected. It works like this: it itches. What do you do when it itches? You itch. This means that small, but unfortunately very contagious, parts of the fungus remain under the nails. If you don’t wash your hands after scratching, you’ll rub the fungus into the skin of other parts of your body when you touch them—potentially encouraging new infections.

Fungus-containing scale material is found in the soil and is absorbed by the foot. This is why places where people often walk barefoot are particularly dangerous:

  • Pools
  • Pavilions and sports fields
  • Hotel rooms
  • Saunas
  • Bathrooms and showers
  • Campsites
  • public toilets and showers, e.g. B. in camps

If a family member has athlete’s foot, they should also avoid going barefoot at home.

What causes fungal skin infections?

There are several factors that make it easier for the skin fungus to reach its target:

  • Poor personal hygiene: dirt, in particular, offers ideal conditions for the growth of fungi.
  • Excessive personal hygiene: washing too frequently, especially with alkaline soaps, destroys the skin’s protective acid mantle. Without this natural protective mechanism, fungi can penetrate the skin much more easily.
  • Clothes made of synthetic material: especially if they are very tight, they increase perspiration. This causes the skin to soften. In this condition it is particularly susceptible to fungal infections.
  • Frequent professional contact: there are professional groups with an increased risk of infection. These include lifeguards, veterinarians and bakers.
  • Medicines that suppress the body’s own defenses: as they contribute to the impairment of the body’s natural defense mechanisms, fungi find it easier to “attack unnoticed”.

Other known risk factors include certain underlying illnesses:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Circulatory problems in the feet
  • Weakness of immune defense

What specifically promotes the development of athlete’s foot?

When it comes to athlete’s foot, there are certain things that make it easier for the fungus to take root:

  • Damp and cold feet: Cold feet usually mean poor blood circulation and therefore a weakened local defense reaction. Heavy foot sweating or inappropriate footwear can create a climate that offers ideal conditions for fungus.
  • Insufficient drying of the feet and the spaces between them: this causes the skin to become softer. This facilitates the penetration of fungi.
  • Skin injuries, pressure points or other skin damage.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Underlying illnesses such as diabetes mellitus.

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