What Is a Fungal Infection?

Fungal infections are a relatively common occurrence that affects millions of people every year. They can be unsightly and uncomfortable but are minor for the most part. Common fungal infections include things like athlete’s foot or yeast infections. There are, however, very serious fungal infections that can be life-threatening.

Fungal infections happen when fungi colonize a part of a person’s body and cause an infection. These fungi aren’t typically found in the human body, so the body reacts adversely when it senses an encroachment. If the fungi can gain enough control over a foot, hand, or other body parts, the infection can spread and multiply to the point it becomes unsightly or an even more serious problem.

One of the issues with fungal infections is that they can be contagious.  So much so that they can transfer from animals and even contaminated inanimate surfaces. It’s important to know the signs of fungal infections to spot them early and get the proper treatment.

Symptoms of a Fungal Infection

Fungal infections can vary, so patients will exhibit different symptoms based on what kind of infection they’re dealing with. The most common fungal infections are ringworm, jock itch, yeast infection, athlete’s foot, and nail fungal infections, or onychomycosis.

Here’s what you can look for:

  • Itching, stinging, burning sensations
  • Cracking or peeling skin
  • Red areas on your skin
  • Changes in skin color
  • Rashes
  • Blisters
  • Patches that look like small red rings
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Oozy or clumpy discharge

If you’re experiencing one or more of the above symptoms to the point of discomfort, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention. There are several over-the-counter treatments for fungal infections including sprays and creams, but when in doubt consult a doctor for the best way forward.

What Causes Fungal Infections?

There are certain conditions where fungal infections become more likely. They are:

Humid areas – If you live in a humid area, your risk of fungal infections is higher. Most fungi need moist places to grow and thrive. Pay attention to how much you’re sweating and make sure to bathe frequently to fight any infections. Don’t walk barefoot in common areas like in gym locker rooms.

Skin or nail injury – If any part of your skin or the nails on your fingers and toes are exposed, that’s an opportunity for a fungal infection to occur. You must treat and cover any open wounds quickly to prevent infections.

Immune System Issues – A suppressed immune system or something like vitamin deficiencies can open you up to fungal infections. One thing you should do is make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting enough vitamins. You can see your doctor and talk to them about getting blood work done to analyze where your levels are compared to what’s recommended.

How Peptides Fight Fungal Infections

Scientists are working with peptide PT-141 to determine its potential for fighting fungal infections and inflammation. In research tests done on rats, PT-141 was found to have anti-fungal properties. This is an important discovery, particularly considering tests in which the patients have compromised immune systems that are unable to properly respond to an infection. The hope is that PT-141 can reduce mortality in tests and be ready for wider applications in the future.

Preventing Fungal Infections

On a very basic level, practicing simple hygiene is the best way to avoid fungal infections. Do things like wash your hands regularly, keep your skin dry and clean, and avoid using other people’s items like combs, razors, towels, etc. If you see anything that seems unsanitary, avoid it if at all possible.

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