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Fungal Infections During the Summer

Posted on: 12-07-2007

Summer heat and humidity bring excess moisture and sweating to our body, creating the perfect setting for fungi (فطريات) to grow and thus fungal infections to develop. Whether you are at the beach, pool, club, gym, camp, work or even hanging around the house, the likelihood of fungal infections increases during the summer.

What is a fungal infection?
There are 4 major types of germs: bacteria, viruses, fungi (many fungus) and protozoa. They can invade plants, animals, and people making them sick. A fungal infection is caused by the type of germs called fungi.
Fungi are multi-cell (made of many cells), plant-like organisms. But unlike other plants, fungi cannot take their own food from soil, water, and air. Instead, they get their nutrition from plants, people, and animals. They tend to thrive in warm, moist places, such as between the toes, in the groin, under the breasts, and other parts of the body causing what is called a fungal infection.

Here are some types of fungal infections:

Tinea: is a type of fungal infection of the hair, skin, or nails. It begins on the skin as a small red area the size of a pea, and as it grows, it spreads out in a circle or ring with a clear center. Tinea is often called ringworm because it may look like tiny worms under the skin. It could be found on the scalp, arms, legs, or chest.

Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis) is another type of fungal infection that usually appears between the toes but can also affect toenails and the bottom or sides of the feet. .It occurs mostly among teenagers and adult male. Symptoms may include cracked, blistered (water filled) and peeling areas between the toes, redness and scaling on the soles, and intense itching. Athlete’s foot may spread to other part of the foot, including toenails.

Jock itch is a fungal infection of the groin and upper thighs. Girls and women might get it as well.

Candida is a yeast similar to a fungus. It most often affects the skin around the nails or the soft, moist areas around body opening. Diaper rash in babies is one type of candidal infection, as is thrush (white patches often found in the babies’ mouths).Older girls and women may develop another form of candidal infection in and around the vagina.

Sweaty feet, not drying feet well after swimming or bathing, tight shoes and socks which offer no ventilation and a warm climate present the perfect setting for the fungus that causes athlete’s foot to grow. Walking barefoot in place like public showers, swimming pools and locker rooms can also be contributing factors for the growth of this type of fungus.
Therefore, in order to avoid catching a fungal infection, especially during the summer, some steps can be followed:
• Wash your feet daily.
• Dry your feet thouroughly, especially in between your toes.
• Avoid tight footwear.
• Wear shower shoes or sandals when using a public pool or shower; allow them to dry between uses.
• Wear cotton socks and change them daily or more frequently if they become damp. Don’t wear socks made of synthetic materials.
• Avoid sharing clothes and towels.
• If possible, stay barefoot at home.
• Avoid injuring your nails. Also note that certain nail products can damage the nail or cuticule, making the nail more subject to infection.
• Dust a special powder into your shoes in the summer.

Moreover, antibiotics can cause some kids to get a fungal infection because antibiotics get rid of the germs that make us sick, but they can kill many of the harmless bacteria as well. These harmless bacteria normally fight with the fungi for a place to live; however, when antibiotic kill them, the fungi become free to grow. Therefore, a child must be observed during and after the course of antibiotic consumption for any subsequent fungal infection: itching, redness or even diarrhea.
Sometimes, a fungus may infect kids if they have an immunity system disorder (this means that their body can’t fight certain types of infections because of low immunity).

Usually a fungal infection is treated by a cream applied to the affected area as directed by your doctor. It is important to keep the affected area clean dry and avoid scratching. Some conditions might also require an oral antifungal medication or even a special shampoo for scalp infections. In most cases, fungal infections clear up after one to four weeks of treatment depending on location and severity. However, some fungal infections such as athlete’s foot tend to occur repeatedly.

By applying the above mentioned preventive steps and being aware that humidity and heat increase your chances of getting a fungal infection during summer season, you might avoid the burden caused by a fungal infection and all resulting discomfort. .

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