Fungal Infection

Table of Contents

There are millions of types of fungus around the world and they all interact differently with each person. The majority of fungi will have no real impact, but some may cause serious reactions that need medical attention.

Overview

Most people are around fungi every day. For the most part, the fungus remains in the background. However, some outside factors can increase a person’s susceptibility to a fungal infection.

People with weakened immune systems, whether from cancer treatment or disease, are more likely to contract fungal infections. The deadliest infections occur in the lungs.

Exotic locations can often have new fungi that people are not used to. When the body does not have a natural immunity to these fungi, infections can result.

Home improvements or construction can stir up fungi in a way that overwhelms a person’s natural protection.

Whatever the cause, people interacting with fungus has the potential to lead to something more serious. Beyond these common causes, simple things like open wounds, excessive sweat, dampness, skincare products, and antibiotics can open the door to a fungal infection.

Types

The most common types of fungal infection are related to specific areas of the body: Athlete’s foot, jock itch, yeast infections, and ringworm. Out of these, only the ringworm diagnosis spreads beyond the primary location.

These are generally brought on by moist conditions. The damp environment allows the fungus to breed to a point where it can establish itself.

These types of fungal infections are easily treatable.

There are some dangerous fungal infections, those that enter the lungs. Like other types of fungal encounters, most people have no idea that the fungus has entered their lungs and been killed off by the body’s defense systems.

For those with compromised immune systems, the fungus can get a foothold and develop into something much more deadly.

People with compromised immunity or existing lung disease should be aware of aspergillus, candida, histoplasma, and pneumocystis jirovecii. These strains of fungi can be especially life-threatening if not treated quickly.

Symptoms

When looking at fungal infections, the symptoms can be varied. This can make it hard to diagnose.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Itchy skin
  • Wheezing
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss

Since many of these symptoms are similar to other illnesses, if a patient does not manifest a rash or external reaction of some type, it can be a challenge for doctors to nail down the exact illness.

Treatments

With the majority of fungal infections being exterior, the first treatment option is an antifungal cream. If that does not work or the infection is extremely resilient, a doctor may prescribe an oral medication.

Most mild fungal infections require a 10-14 day regimen and can either contain the fungus or remedy the situation.

If the fungus is merely contained, there is a good chance the prescribing doctor will increase the dosage or use a more potent antifungal medication.

Medications

When faced with a fungal infection, waiting is never the best solution. Antifungal medicine can help make an immediate impact.

Here is a list of common antifungal medications:

The options for antifungal medications are not overwhelming, but they have stood the test of time and still work on getting rid of fungal infections.

For serious lung infections doctors use:


Sources:

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  2. Northwest Medicine. Causes and Diagnosis of Fungal Infection. 2022. Available at nm.org.
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  14. EMC. Nystan Oral Suspension (Ready Mixed). January 2019. Available at medicines.org.uk.
  15. National Institute of Health: National Library of Medicine. Caspofungin: a review of its uses in the treatment of fungal infection. Available at pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  16. Mayo Clinic. Voriconazole (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names. July 2022. Available at mayoclinic.org.
  17. National Library of Medicine. Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Candidiasis: 2016 Update by the Infections Diseases Society of America. December 16, 2015. Available at NCBI.nlm.nih.gov.
  18. MedlinePlus. Posaconazole. June 15, 2022. Available at MedlinePlus.gov.

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