Fungal infections are deadly but preventable

Fungal infections are deadly but preventable

by -
0 490


In modern medical practice, experts believe that more than ever, preventing a disease is still the best way to ‘treat’ it. In other words, we are expected to know as much as possible about how to live disease-free and thus prevent one from afflicting us.

Experts warn that fungal diseases are often caused by fungi that are common in the environment.

And while most fungi are not dangerous, some types can be harmful to health. As bad as fungal infections could be, the truth is that many of them can be prevented through hygienic living.

Simply put, fungi are organisms that feed on organic matters. When fungi infect any part of the body, except the victim acts fast enough, they have the tendency to spread. Worse is the fact that fungal infections are contagious; and that’s why no one should take them lying low, even when they don’t seem to be life-threatening.

Of course, just as there are benign fungal infections, so also are there some that can lead to blindness and loss of life if medical interventions are not sought early enough.

Professor of Infectious Diseases in Global Health at The University of Manchester, Dr. David Denning, warns that the importance of chronic and allergic fungal infections has been overlooked for years, and that they are likely responsible for over 500,000 deaths each year. “Likewise, AIDS-related fungal infections are responsible for up to 700,000 deaths (nearly half the total AIDS deaths), and could be halved rapidly if diagnosis and treatment were made available immediately,” the specialist says.

Denning adds that most serious fungal infections are hidden, occurring as a consequence of other health problems such as asthma, AIDS, cancer, organ transplant and corticosteroid therapies.

“All require specialised testing for diagnosis, and delays or missed diagnosis often lead to death, serious chronic illness or blindness,” he proffers.

General Practitioner, Dr. Biodun Oluwa, says fungus can infect any part of the body — from head to toe and also internally, such as the brain in case of meningitis; or the chest, in case of pneumonia.

Experts say fungal infections are among the most common kinds of skin infections, and are contagious, spreading easily from one part of the body to another and from person to person.

“In a fungal infection of the skin, the affected area typically becomes itchy, red, thick, scaly and dry. Such infections include athlete’s foot (infection between the toes), jock itch (affecting the groin), ringworms (that can happen anywhere, typically starting at a central point and spreading to form a bigger ring), and candidiasis (caused by candidas albicans that affects the underarms),” experts say.

Physicians say jock itch is more common among men because the scrotum and thigh are in close contact, and this can create conditions in which fungi can thrive.

Again, women who love to wear very tight styles can develop itchy, red rash in the groin and around the top of the legs.

Like ringworm on the body, ringworm in the groin can spread with close contact and it can be passed on in the same ways. Ringworm may also infect the groin if you’ve had athlete’s foot and touch your groin after touching your foot without washing your hands.

In the case of ringworm, Oluwa warns that anyone could be infected simply by touching contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding of an infected person.

Again, if you play with pets but do not cultivate the habit of washing your hands frequently, you risk being infected with ringworm.

Veterinary doctors say farm animals such as sheep and cattle carry the fungi that cause ringworm, as well as domesticated pets such as cats and dogs. So, to avoid ringworm, always wash your hands after touching animals.

Oluwa says that sometimes, certain fungal infection such as candida infection can be due to obesity, exposure to certain drugs or as a result of a non communicable disease such as diabetes.

He says, “Candida infection is especially common among people who are obese or who have diabetes. People taking antibiotics are also at risk, hence the need for people to not be careless with their health.”

Among infants and toddlers, candida can cause diaper rash; just as it can also cause infections of the nail.

Have you had oral thrush? Well, experts blame candida for it, just as it is also responsible for vaginal yeast infections.

Experts at counsel that you…

  • Wear clothes that prevent moisture from forming on the skin.
  • Keep your armpits, groin area, and other areas that are prone to infection clean and dry.
  • Always shower and dry yourself thoroughly after activities where you sweat.
  • If you are overweight or obese, properly dry your skin folds.
  • Wear sandals or other open-toe footwear when it’s warm.
  • Change your socks and underwear regularly.



Leave a Reply