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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections

Mycosis is a spectrum of infectious diseases caused by fungi. It is often chronic in nature and may affect skin (cutaneous), below skin (subcutaneous) or internal organs (systemic). Dandruff and tinea are some of the commonly occurring fungal infections.

 

Fungi?

Fungi are complex eukaryotic organisms that have rigid cell wall composed of chitin, contains ergosterol – useful targets for antifungals. Fungi often grow slowly and are resistant to antibiotics.


Why mycosis?

 

Fungi are normally present on skin and mucous membranes. Any factor that disrupts normal flora, like prolonged use of antibiotics or stress, can cause overgrowth of yeast infection. These may recur despite rigorous treatment.


Incidence of mycosis like candidemia has recently been on a rise due to immunosuppression seen in organ transplant, cancer chemotherapy and HIV.

Fungi could be yeasts like candida, Pneumocystis, cryptococcus, dimorphic like Blastomycosis, Coccidioidomycosis, Histoplasmosis, Sporotrichosis and molds like Aspergillosis, dermatophytosis, mucormycosis.

 

Symptoms depend on site and typs of infection. Common symptoms are dry, flaky, itchy or whitish discoloration on skin. If a scrapping from the affected skin is examined under a microscope, it will reveal the hyphae and spores of the yeast and thus a definitive diagnosis can be made.


Medicines available for mycosis are many.

Antibiotics like amphotericin B, Nystatin, Griseofulvin and Flucytosine (5-FC) can be used. Systemic antifungals like fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole and terbinafine have been approved for use in various fungal infections. Topical agents like clotrimazole, miconazole, ketoconazole, tolnaftate, undecylenic acid, benzoic acid, quiniodochlor, ciclopirox olamine and butenafine and sod. Thiosulfate are also available. Herbal medicines like cocnut oil and others are available.

In general, topical medicines are tried before systemic medicines. Systemic medicines can have many side effects, so these should be taken only under guidance of a doctor.


Good lifestyle measures like clean drinking water, hygienic, nutritious food, regularize and meditation help promoting health and reduce the yeast growth.

 

Written by Dr Vaishalee Punj