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Canadian Med Center

How to Prevent Fungal Skin Infections

Monday 19 April 2021

Table of Contents

I. How Serious Are Fungal Skin Infections?

II. Personal Hygiene

III. Foot Hygiene

IV. Keeping Personal Items Personal

V. Are Pets a Risk Factor?

VI. Treating Fungal Infections

How Serious Are Fungal Skin Infections? 

Fungal skin infections like athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm are typically irritating for people with healthy immune systems. Fungal skin infections commonly cause scaly skin, blisters, swelling, and itching. These symptoms do not usually become severe if the infection is treated promptly. Fungal skin infections only pose a serious health threat if you have a weakened immune system from a health condition or medication you take. [1] 

To prevent a fungal skin condition from worsening, your doctor may prescribe antifungal medication like Diflucan (fluconazole)Lotriderm (clotrimazole)Spectazole (econazole), or Vermox (mebendazole). But fungal skin infections can usually be prevented through good personal hygiene practices and a healthy diet that boosts your immune system. Read on to learn ways on how you can prevent a fungal infection.

a handwashing basin, towel, and faucet

Personal Hygiene

Some people are more prone to fungal infections than others due to genetics. [2] Even if you are at risk for fungal skin infections, focusing on personal hygiene can significantly reduce that risk, and this factor is completely within your control. There are about 600 fungi species that can affect humans. There are also millions of germs and viruses that you come into contact with daily. Good hygiene practices can reduce the number of harmful invaders and prevent illnesses. [3]

Your hands are often the first point of contact with the outside world. Fungi on your hands can easily spread to other areas of the body and cause an infection. This is why it is essential to wash your hands thoroughly before handling food and eating, and after handling garbage, sneezing, or coughing. [4] 

Foot Hygiene

Fungal skin infections commonly start on the feet. For example, athlete’s foot often begins between the toes and spreads from there, so it is important to talk about foot hygiene when it comes to preventing fungal skin infections. [5] Athlete’s foot can spread through contaminated floors, so the first step of foot hygiene is to avoid walking barefoot in bathrooms, locker rooms, gyms, and public shower areas. [2]

a pair of slippers by the pool

You should also keep your feet clean and dry as much as possible. Breathable shoes made with materials like leather or mesh can help in this regard. Changing into clean socks when they become wet or damp can also help. There are anti-fungal powders available that can prevent fungi from growing when applied to your shoes every day. Avoid sharing footwear, and throw out old shoes when they have served their purpose. When it comes to trimming toenails, cutting straight across can help prevent ingrown nails. [2]

Keeping Personal Items Personal

Contagion works both ways. If you have a fungal infection, you may want to avoid sharing personal items to prevent the spread. In the same way, you may want to keep personal items personal to reduce your risk of being infected. By not sharing towels, clothes, combs, and toothbrushes, you can improve your chances of preventing an infection. [4]

Are Pets a Risk Factor? 

Your fluffy best friend may seem harmless, but if they play outside often, they can bring fungi back into your home. Dogs and cats inevitably come into contact with areas of high fungi growth. Puddles, damp forest floors, and grassy fields are all prime areas for fungi to spread. The most common pet-spread fungal infection is ringworm. [6] To reduce the risk of your pet bringing fungal infections into your home, make sure you practice adequate handwashing and keep your pets clean with plenty of baths!

a golden retriever puppy

Treating Fungal Infections 

Even if you take all of the above-mentioned steps to reduce your risk, there isn’t a way to prevent fungal skin infections completely. But getting a fungal skin infection these days isn’t usually cause for concern. There are many effective treatment methods available, including home remedies, over-the-counter ointments, and prescription anti-fungal drugs like Diflucan (fluconazole)Lotriderm (clotrimazole)Spectazole (econazole), and Vermox (mebendazole).

Fungal skin infections are most commonly treated topically, meaning that solutions are applied directly to the affected areas of the skin. Oral-route medications are available as well. For serious fungal skin infections, corticosteroids can be prescribed to relieve painful inflammatory symptoms. Ask your doctor about prevention and treatment methods today.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.