Fungus (mycosis) of the skin and nails: symptoms, diagnosis, prevention

In many people, nails and skin are affected by mold, which does not look very nice. It is important to understand that this is not just an aesthetic problem, but primarily a medical problem.

fungus on the skin of the feet

In some cases, fungal skin lesions can be a precursor to serious diseases, such as diabetes. Do not start the disease, because the treatment process takes on average a year or more.

How can you get skin and nail fungus?

More than 40 different types of 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 top layer of skin (epidermis), hair and nails. Penetrating the epidermis or nail plate, the fungus is fixed there, begins to grow and multiply.

You can be infected by a sick person through objects (towels, wooden shelves in the bathroom, sauna, carpets, benches in public pools, manicure / pedicure tools) and contact with the ground if you like to walk barefoot in nature.

Groups at risk

The most common types of fungal diseases include fungal infections of the skin of the feet and onychomycosis of the nail plates. From the moment of infection until the appearance of the first clinical symptoms, it lasts from several weeks to several months.

More often than others, men suffer from fungal diseases. Among women, those who constantly wear toes, especially high heels, are more likely to develop the disease. In this case the toes are constantly flattened, which leads to friction, small wounds, scratches, which are the gateways 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 fungal spores and fragments from metal surfaces of nipples, scissors and tweezers, tools should be sterilized in a dry heat cabinet. Not all salons have such equipment, so they are limited to "soaking" in a disinfectant solution and "drying" in the ultraviolet box. This treatment does not completely protect against infection.

Frequent admission of a fungal infection may signal the development of diabetes. According to statistics, diabetics are three times more susceptible to mycosis. The fungus can also appear with allergic skin lesions (itching, inflammation, crying), combing insect bites, while taking antibacterial drugs, corticosteroid hormones, antidepressants.

Athlete's foot symptoms

  • Dry skin, cracks, skin on interdigital folds.
  • Itching.
  • Hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin of the feet).
  • Expansion of lesions.
  • In some cases, the fungal infection joins the staph infection, which is quite difficult to cure.

Symptoms of onychomycosis (nail fungus)

Among all nail diseases, onychomycosis accounts for up to 40%. Dermatophytes make up up to 90% of all fungal nail infections. The most common pathogens are fungi of the genus Trichophyton.

The appearance of fungus in this case can be preceded by damage to the nail or constant softening of the nail plate due to high humidity. This is possible, for example, when you wear the same shoes / sneakers every day.

As the infection progresses, the color of the nail changes - part of the nail becomes yellow, gray or white. Over time, the spot grows, and the nail itself thickens - the development of subungual hyperkeratosis occurs.

Diagnosis of fungal diseases

Special fungal detection tests are used to diagnose fungal infections and onychomycosis. Biomaterial (hair fragments, nail plates, skin particles) is analyzed under a microscope. If infection has occurred and mycelial fibers (fungal body) are visible, the diagnosis is confirmed.

If microscopic examinations give an ambiguous answer, then a bacteriological examination is performed - planting the material in the fungus. The test allows not only the identification of the infection, but also the determination of susceptibility to antifungal drugs, which is necessary for the selection of effective treatments.

How to protect yourself from the fungus

  • Dry your feet after bathing or showering, especially between the toes.
  • If you wear closed shoes, change socks / socks every day.
  • Change shoes every two or three days, do not wear the same pairs every day.
  • Do not walk barefoot in public places (pool, spa, sauna, fitness club).
  • If someone in your family has a fungal disease, provide them with a special set of towels and linen. Wash separately at the highest temperature.
  • If you have fungus on the same foot or nails, use two different manicure / pedicure sets to avoid spreading the infection to healthy areas.
  • If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar level. "High sugar" reduces the healing rate of skin lesions ("diabetic foot"), which facilitates the onset of a fungal infection.

Be healthy!