Fungal Infections

Many fungi inhabit our everyday living environments. Most of the time, they don't cause any problems. However, in some extenuating circumstances or if the body's defense mechanisms are disrupted, a fungus can cause various infections to your organs. There are many types of fungal infections, ranging from benign superficial fungal infections like athlete's foot (tinea versicolor, tinea cruris, tinea capitus), to more serious diseases such as cryptococcosis, blastomycosis, histoplasmosis, and candidiasis.

Signs and Symptoms

Fungal infections can affect any part of the body. In many cases, the initial signs and symptoms of a fungal infection can mimic the signs of a simple rashes, colds or chest infections. Because of the similarities to other illnesses, identifying whether or not you may have a fungal infection depends more on your risk factors:

  • Have you traveled out of the country recently?
  • Do you typically work outdoors or in a dirty environment?
  • Are you prevented from practicing good hygiene?

If you answer yes to any of the above, you are at a higher risk for a fungal infections. Often, many of these infections, while uncomfortable, are not serious. However, infections do not easily go away on their own. Getting treatment early for any illness increases your body's ability to fight it off, and shortens the duration of the infection.

Treatment Options

Due to the wide variety of fungal infections and the range of severity, treatment vary greatly. They can range from topical ointments and creams for fungal infections of the skin, to mouthwashes for infections like thrush, to eating yogurt or taking acidophilus supplements, which can help correct the abnormal balance of microorganisms in the mouth and digestive tract.