There are a lot of effective treatments available for fungal infection today, but how do you stop fungal infections from recurring?
What is a Fungal Infection?
There are a lot of fungi that are not harmful to humans and occur naturally in different environments. Some fungi, however, can cause skin diseases or even organ infections that can be deadly. To date, there are at least 13 types of fungal diseases caused by 300 known species of fungi such as the following: aspergillosis attacks people with weak lungs or immune system; candidiasis affects the bloodstream, throat or mouth, and vagina; C. neoformans infection affects the brain; fungal eye infections; mucormycosis that attack people with weak immune system; ringworm, a type of skin infection; blastomycosis; coccidioidomycosis; C. gattii infection; histoplasmosis, which is acquired through bat and bird droppings; Pneumocystis pneumonia; sporotrichosis; andother pathogenic fungi such as the Cladosporium and Exserohilum.
To test whether you have fungal infection, a blood culture test and/or fungal tests are done. A blood test is done if the doctor suspects that you are exhibiting symptoms of sepsis or blood infection caused by fungi. The symptoms might include fever and chills, rapid breathing or heartbeat, less frequent urination, and nausea. The fungal tests on the other hand, include the following tests: fungal culture of swab and fluid samples, KOH prep of scraping and swabs, and calcofluor white stain for body fluids, swabs and other samples. KOH prep is the primary screening test done in hospitals in Singapore, but it will not tell the patient what specific fungus caused the infection.
Steps to Prevent Fungal Infections
You don’t need to have recurring fungal infection problems to observe the following habits:
1. Take a bath everyday and after every strenuous activity, and don’t forget to wash your clothes and bed linen regularly.
2. Do not share personal items such as combs or brushes, socks and shoes, and towels with other people.
3. Wear clean, dry shoes especially when you’re in public areas.
4. Keep your feet clean and dry as much as possible. That includes trimming your nails regularly. Change your socks daily and wear shoes that fit correctly.
5. Choose socks that are made of wool or absorbent cotton to prevent fungal growth.
6. Wear cotton underwear instead of items made from synthetic materials.
7. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo at least twice a month if you have problems with dandruff or as a preventive step.
8. Follow the doctor’s instructions when applying medicine on skin fungal infections even when you no longer see the rashes.
9. Do not take oral medications such as antibiotics, hormones and steroids unless your doctor has instructed you to do so.
10. Monitor and control your blood sugar levels which can encourage the growth of yeast in some parts of the body.
11. Don’t use products that can irritate your vaginal tissue. Pick products that are unscented and don’t contain a lot of irritants.