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How To Prevent Fungal Skin Infections

Last updated April 29, 2016

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

The common fungal skin infections that affect people include candidiasis, ringworm, and athlete’s foot.

Fungus is found in abundance around the world. These range from tiny microorganisms to large mushrooms. Fungi can cause a variety of diseases in humans, some of them may be skin (cutaneous) related conditions, while others can affect the internal organs too (systemic). 

The common fungal skin infections that affect individuals include candidiasis, ringworm, and athlete’s foot. Generally, it is not very easy to be rid of a fungal infection. The process may take many weeks. Here are a few general tips to prevent skin fungal infections and their spread to others:

  • Keep skin clean and dry (especially the groin region, armpits): Fungus requires a warm and moist setting for it to grow and thrive.
  • Avoid walking barefoot frequently in public places: This is true in common areas, like community pool areas, gyms, and locker rooms.
  • Change your underwear or the pair of socks you wear, every day.
  • Also, wear cotton clothes instead of those made of synthetic material.
  • Avoid sharing items of clothing, bedding, sheets, even utensils. This can cause the spread of fungal skin infections through direct contact much faster.
  • Use an anti-fungal powder regularly, particularly in hot humid climates, or if you frequent wet areas (due to sports or work requirement).
  • Avoid tight-fitting and thick clothing, particularly made of synthetic material, especially if you have a body constitution that makes you to sweat a lot.
  • Maintain common spaces that are regularly wet and frequented by many, in clean and hygiene condition.
  • Avoid vaginal douches and perfumed deodorants, which may affect the ‘bacteria-balance’ in your body.
  • Wash and clean your hands and legs, after you work in gardens or farms, or after outdoor camping, where you are exposed directly to the soil.
  • Certain fungal infections can spread from infected animals and pets, such as dogs and cats, to humans. In such cases, the animals or pets may be present with bald skin patches.
  • Try to reduce your daily (chronic) stress, whether at home, school, or office.

Always treat any fungal infection immediately, for this will prevent them from spreading to other parts of the body, or from spreading to others.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

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Wilson EK, Deweber K, Berry JW, Wilckens JH. Cutaneous infections in wrestlers. Sports health 2013;5:423-37.

Pecci M, Comeau D, Chawla V. Skin conditions in the athlete. Am J Sports Med 2009;37:406-18.

http://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/womenhealth/Pages/7-Tips-to-Prevent-Yeast-Infections.aspx (accessed on 10/31/2014)

Goodman, J. L., Winston, D. J., Greenfield, R. A., Chandrasekar, P. H., Fox, B., Kaizer, H., ... & Powderly, W. G. (1992). A controlled trial of fluconazole to prevent fungal infections in patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. New England Journal of Medicine, 326(13), 845-851.

Fridkin, S. K., & Jarvis, W. R. (1996). Epidemiology of nosocomial fungal infections. Clinical microbiology reviews, 9(4), 499-511.

Feigin, R. D., & Cherry, J. D. (1998). Textbook of pediatric infectious diseases: Volume 1 (No. Ed. 4). WB saunders.

Ellis, M. E., Clink, H., Ernst, P., Halim, M. A., Padmos, A., Spence, D., ... & Greer, W. (1994). Controlled study of fluconazole in the prevention of fungal infections in neutropenic patients with haematological malignancies and bone marrow transplant recipients. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 13(1), 3-11.

Heel, R. C., Brogden, R. N., Carmine, A., Morley, P. A., Speight, T. M., & Avery, G. S. (1982). Ketoconazole: a review of its therapeutic efficacy in superficial and systemic fungal infections. Drugs, 23(1-2), 1-36.

Huijgens, P. C., Simoons-Smit, A. M., Van Loenen, A. C., Prooy, E., Van Tinteren, H., Ossenkoppele, G. J., & Jonkhoff, A. R. (1999). Fluconazole versus itraconazole for the prevention of fungal infections in haemato-oncology. Journal of clinical pathology, 52(5), 376-380.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 29, 2016
Last updated: April 29, 2016