We cannot think of anything more annoying than an itchy, burning and irritated skin. Summer is the time when we experience all kinds of hard-to-reach itches in various parts of the body. They often get transformed into some kind of fungal or bacterial infections. Because skin is the largest body organ, the effects of its disorders are as psychological as they are physical. Dr.K.N.Prakasam, senior dermatologist of Ernakulam Medical Centre writes about some of the common fungal diseases and how to handle them.
The common fungal infections that we come across on the skin (ringworm), is caused by Dermatophytes, belonging to Microsporum, Trichophyton and Epidermophyton. It can affect not only the skin but also the hair and nails.
Fungi are small organisms that feed by breaking down living or dead tissue. The fungi that most commonly cause infections in humans are particularly attracted to a tough, waterproof type of tissue called keratin, which is present in skin, hair and nails. They are known as dermatophytes.
Microorganisms infesting the skin cause these infections. They feed off the dead skin cells, and usually remain dormant. But when a person is not hygienic, the fungal organisms reproduce rapidly, leading to an infection. Simple measures in everyday life like cleaning hands and feet after coming indoors, wearing clean, dry underwear and socks and using medicated powder as and when required would go a long way in preventing these infections.
We will consider here the infections of the skin. Different terminologies are used to describe the disease depending on the sites of the affection, For example, when it affects the groin, it is called Tinea Cruris; in the general body surface, Tinea Corporis; and in the axilla, Tinea axillairs. Essentially, they are all the same.
Fungal infections generally are a huge chapter by itself and so the more common and important ones will be dealt here. Fungal infections can be either superficial or deep. Deep infection is comparatively rare and so the superficial varieties will be considered here in brief.
(Read more on this article in the December issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)