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

In many people, the nails and skin are affected by the fungus, which does not look very good. It is important to understand that this is not just an aesthetic problem, but above all a medical problem.

fungus on the skin of the feet

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

How can you get skin and nail fungus?

Over 40 species of various parasitic fungi (dermatophytes) are known that can 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 upper layer of the skin (epidermis), hair and nails. Penetrating into the epidermis or nail plate, the fungus attaches to it, begins to grow and multiply.

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

Risk groups

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

More often than others, men suffer from fungal diseases. In women, those who constantly wear pointy shoes, especially high heels, are more likely to develop the disease. In this case, the toes are constantly flattened, which leads to friction, small wounds, abrasions, which are the gateway to infection.

You can also "catch" a fungus in an ordinary beauty salon during a pedicure procedure, if the master used improperly processed tools. To remove fungal spores and fragments from the metal surfaces of pliers, scissors and tweezers, the 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 ultraviolet boxes. This treatment does not completely protect against infection.

The frequent appearance of a fungal infection can signal the development of diabetes. According to statistics, diabetics are three times more susceptible to fungal infections. 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, peeling in the interdigital folds.
  • Itching.
  • Hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin of the feet).
  • Enlargement of lesions.
  • In some cases, a staphylococcal infection joins the fungal infection, which is quite difficult to cure.

Symptoms of onychomycosis (nail fungus)

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

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

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

Diagnosis of fungal diseases

For the diagnosis of fungal infections and onychomycosis, special tests for the detection of fungi are used. The biomaterial (hair fragments, nail plates, skin particles) is analyzed under a microscope. If the infection has occurred and the threads of the mycelium (the body of the fungus) are visible, the diagnosis is confirmed.

If microscopic examinations give an ambiguous answer, a bacteriological examination is carried out - sowing the material on fungi. The test allows not only to identify the infection, but also to determine the sensitivity to antifungal drugs, which is necessary for the selection of effective treatments.

How to protect yourself from fungi

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

To be in a good health!