Indeed, fungal infections are not new and have been around for centuries. But presently, India is facing an epidemic of fungal skin infections. It has reached a point where dermatologists in Mumbai report that 50-80% of daily cases are fungal infections. Wrong use of over-the-counter creams by patients has led to fungal resistance to treatments. So even if you’ve dealt with this condition before, it’s always a good idea to get it diagnosed from a medical professional to make sure you’re not worsening the situation.
How Do You Diagnose A Fungal Infection?
Some usual signs of a fungal infection include a red or reddish-brown rash, itchiness, scaly skin or brittle nails, depending on the location. To learn more about the symptoms, read our article: https://bit.ly/2FIzlH3. On spotting the signs, you should first consult a dermatologist, who will identify the kind of infection and prescribe you the right medication.
With first-time infections, you can get a diagnosis even through a visual exam done on a video consultation. But for persistent infections, you might need a fungal culture test – either a blood, urine, swab, sputum test or scraping of your nail or skin.
Sometimes, people self-prescribe without a diagnosis or knowledge of what type of antifungal medicine they really need. This has led to a new kind of infection – tinea incognito. It is caused when people incorrectly use steroid creams, worsening the existing infection or changing its look making it tough to diagnose and treat. Steroid creams suppress your immune system which can allow the fungus to invade deeper into the skin or allow for superinfection by bacteria.
Remember, fungal infections don’t just self-resolve. They can spread or invade deeper and turn into a serious condition if left neglected.
What Is The Treatment For A Fungal Infection?
For superficial infections, anti-fungal medications are available in the form of topical creams, shampoos, sprays, oral tablets and powders. In cases where the infection has spread inside the body, this can cause sepsis and even death, therefore intravenous medications may be needed.
- Antifungal creams, ointments, shampoos and sprays: These are normally prescribed for mild to moderate infections with. Some common types are clotrimazole, ketoconazole, econazole, miconazole, tioconazole, terbinafine, and amorolfine. A dermatologist is knowledgeable about which medication treats which fungal infection depending on the location and type of fungus.
- Oral anti-fungal pills
: In severe cases and for infections like tinea incognito, topical treatments may be stopped and oral pills may be recommended.
- Fungal Powder: In the case of recurrent infections, you may also need to apply a fungal powder in the infected areas as a preventive treatment and to help keep moisture dry.
While these infections are highly curable, it’s crucial to begin early so that it doesn’t turn into a dangerous problem. Need personalised advice from one of our expert dermatologists? Booking an appointment is a click away!
Reviewed by: Dr. Shailly Prasad, MD/MBA, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology.
 CM. Gupta, K., AK. Sahoo, R., IR. Bristow, M., H. Jerajani, C., S. Dogra, T., A. Naglot, D., . . . V. Ramaraj, R. (1970, January 01). Expert Consensus on The Management of Dermatophytosis in India (ECTODERM India). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://bmcdermatol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12895-018-0073-1 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12895-018-0073-1
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician or trained professional.