They hide where it is warm and humid: in saunas and swimming pools, changing rooms, and bathrooms of hotel rooms. Fungi love this climate. And they are usually transmitted by skin cells, i.e. in places where many people go barefoot. They don’t care if their feet are clean or dirty. Mycosis has nothing to do with poor hygiene. Skin fungus is one of the most common infections, with studies showing that one in three adults will contract a foot fungus at some point in their lives, and one in eight with a toenail fungus. Fungal infections of the feet tend to arise from filamentous fungi called dermatophytes – and rarely from yeasts or molds. In general, the fungus primarily affects the foot between the toes and the soles of the feet. From there, it can migrate to the nails.
Fungi love old skin
Not everyone who comes into contact with fungal spores is necessarily infected. Children and young people rarely become infected with foot and nail fungus. But the older a person is, the more vulnerable he is. This is due to the fact that the skin becomes thinner over the years and blood circulation is poorer. Then the body’s defenses decrease. Especially susceptible to the fungus, except for the elderly, diabetics and people with circulatory problems or immunodeficiency. In men, infections are more common than in women. If the skin swells under the influence of heat and moisture, it is especially easy for fungus to penetrate into it. After a sauna, after a bath, or when your feet are sweating in sealed shoes, a favorable environment is created for fungus. It has enzymes that soften the stratum corneum so that it can slide through the skin.
Fungi can ally with bacteria
Fungi on fingers and nails form stains: nails can grow and become inflamed. These viruses can also spread and infect other areas of the skin. However, they cannot reach bones or organs. In the worst case, fungi and other microorganisms such as bacteria make their way through the body. This is how the so-called erysipelas with skin inflammation, high fever and chills appear. Thus, one should always be alert to fungi. It is also possible to infect others, so you should always carry slippers with you.
The fungus makes itself felt in different ways, depending on where it is located. The most common is the so-called interdigital type. The upper layers of the skin swell and appear whitish. The skin turns red, gets wet, sometimes there are blisters. If you wear shoes that are sealed, your skin can itch a lot. From the space between the fingers, the fungus spreads to the sides of the fingers and the instep. It can appear on the soles and edges of the foot. In this case, the skin becomes easily inflamed from the very beginning. It becomes dry and scaly. Cracks may appear later. There is also a third form of mycosis. With it, large groups of bubbles appear on the sole. Since the skin is very thick there, the bubbles do not burst, but dry out. The leg in this place is very itchy and inflamed.
The fungus infects the nail plate
The color of the nail changes initially. White, yellow, or brown spots are a sign that this is an infection and is spreading under the nail plate. If you do not take any action against the fungal infection, the nail plate loses its elasticity, becomes fragile, thickened and deformed. Sometimes the infection also covers the nail bed. Over time, the fungus can completely destroy the nail. Then there is pain and discomfort when walking. More often than not, the fungus affects only one nail, but it can spread to other nails. Toenail fungus occurs up to four times more often than toenail fungus. Nail fungus is not always easy to identify. Other conditions can also change the nails. This can be, for example, nail psoriasis. Also bacteria, viruses, or medications can damage your nails. If in doubt, consult a dermatologist.
Fungal infections rarely go away on their own. The sooner you start treating them, the faster you can get rid of the trouble. The doctor will prescribe a so-called safe antifungal agent. This is a drug that either inhibits the growth of fungi or completely destroys them. Basically, it is enough for treatment to lubricate the affected areas with cream, spray with spray or varnish. Only in difficult cases is it necessary to take pills. But this rarely happens. Many antifungals are available over the counter at a pharmacy. In addition to medication, it is important to keep the spaces between your toes dry. You should dry your feet well after swimming and wear breathable shoes and socks. Disinfect shoes, ventilate them, wear comfortable shoes that do not lead to minor injuries. Wash your socks in at least 60 degrees hot water to avoid new infections. Swimming pools, saunas and gyms are ideal breeding grounds for fungus. On the one hand, there are a lot of people, on the other hand, the spread of microbes in warm and humid air is faster. Therefore, do not go barefoot in such places. This also applies to the dressing room. Do not walk barefoot in a hotel room: fungus can survive for a long time on carpeted floors.