In many people, the nails and skin are affected by the fungus, which does not look very pretty. It is important to understand that this is not only an aesthetic problem, but mainly a medical one.
In some cases, fungal skin lesions can be a harbinger of serious illnesses, such as diabetes. Do not start the disease, because the treatment process on average takes a year or more.
How can you get skin and nail fungus?
More than 40 species of various parasitic fungi (dermatophytes) are known to affect the skin and nails. The most common are representatives of the genera Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton. For growth and reproduction, they use a special substrate - keratin, which consists of the upper layer of the skin (epidermis), hair and nails. Getting into the epidermis or nail plate, the fungus fixes there, begins to grow and multiply.
You can get infected from a sick person, through objects (towels, wooden shelves in a bathhouse, sauna, carpets, benches in public swimming pools, manicure / pedicure tools) and contact with the ground if you like to walk barefoot in the nature.
groups at risk
The most common types of fungal diseases include mycoses of the skin of the feet and onychomycoses of the nail plates. From the moment of infection to the appearance of the first clinical symptoms, from several weeks to several months pass.
More often than others, men suffer from fungal diseases. Among women, those who constantly wear pointed shoes, especially high heels, are more likely to develop the disease. In this case, the toes are constantly flattened, which causes friction, small wounds, abrasions, which are the gateway for infection.
You can also "catch" a fungus in a regular beauty salon during a pedicure procedure if the master used improperly processed tools. To remove spores and fungal fragments from the metal surfaces of pliers, scissors and tweezers, the tools must be sterilized in a dry heat oven. Not all salons have such equipment, so they are limited to "soaking" in a disinfectant solution and "drying" in ultraviolet boxes. This treatment does not completely protect against infection.
Frequent access of a fungal infection may indicate the development of diabetes. According to statistics, diabetics are three times more susceptible to mycoses. The fungus can also appear with allergic skin lesions (itching, inflammation, weeping), insect bites combing, while taking antibacterial drugs, corticosteroid hormones, antidepressants.
Athlete's foot symptoms
- Dry skin, cracks, peeling in the interdigital folds.
- Hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin of the feet).
- Enlargement of lesions.
- In some cases, staph infection joins fungal infection, which is quite difficult to cure.
Symptoms of Onychomycosis (Nail Fungus)
Among all nail diseases, onychomycosis accounts for up to 40%. Dermatophytes account for up to 90% of all fungal nail infections. The most common pathogens are fungi of the genus Trichophyton.
The appearance of the fungus in this case may be preceded by injury to the nail or constant softening of the nail plate due to high humidity. This, for example, is possible when wearing the same pair of shoes/sneakers every day.
As the infection progresses, the color of the nail changes: part of the nail turns yellow, grayish or whitish. Over time, the spot grows and the nail thickens - the development of subungual hyperkeratosis occurs.
Diagnosis of fungal diseases.
For the diagnosis of fungal infections and onychomycosis, special tests are used for the detection of fungi. The biomaterial (hair fragments, nail plates, skin particles) is analyzed under a microscope. If infection has occurred and threads of mycelium (the body of the fungus) are visible, the diagnosis is confirmed.
If microscopic examinations give an ambiguous answer, a bacteriological examination is carried out, seeding the material on fungi. The test allows not only to identify the infection, but also to determine the sensitivity to antifungal drugs, which is necessary for the selection of effective treatments.
How to protect yourself from fungus
- Dry your feet after bathing or showering, especially between the toes.
- If you wear closed shoes, change your socks daily.
- Change shoes every two or three days, don't wear the same pair every day.
- Do not walk barefoot in public places (swimming pool, bathroom, sauna, gym).
- If someone in your family has a fungal disease, provide them with a separate set of towels and bedding. Wash them separately at the highest temperature.
- If you have fungus on the same foot or nail, use two different manicure/pedicure sets to prevent the infection from spreading to healthy areas.
- If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels. "High sugar" reduces the rate of wound healing on the skin ("diabetic foot"), making it easier for a fungal infection to enter.