Fungal skin infections are incredibly common in both adults and children. Although generally not serious, they must be treated successfully toprevent reinfection and spread.
There are many different types of fungi that can bring on a skin infection, including yeasts. Patients presenting with a fungal condition will often have patches of skin which is itchy, raw, flaky, or discoloured.
Diagnosing a fungal skin infection
If a patient presents with a suspected fungal skin infection, you’ll need to ascertain their symptoms and medical history and complete a physical examination. You may also need to take a sample of the skin to be lab tested.
The most common fungal skin conditions
Whilst no two fungal skin infections are the same, the most common ones include:
The medical name for Athlete’s Foot is tinea pedis- and it is very common indeed. The fungi that cause it tends to grow between the toes and on the soles of the feet, and multiple courses of treatment may be required. Affected skin will be red, blistered, scaly or itchy. Painful, sometimes bloody fissures may appear as well. Feet that are constantly moist, perhaps due to sweat, are most at risk of Athlete’s Foot, and it is highly contagious.
Candida (yeast) infections
Candida is a yeast, that is typically found living harmlessly in the vagina, mouth and gut. However, if the candida multiplies out of control it can bring on unpleasant symptoms including itching, redness, and a thick, yellowish discharge. “Thrush” is the common name for a candida infection of the genitals or mouth.
Nail infections often take a while to develop and again can take some time and patience to get rid of. They can affect both the fingernails and toenails. Patients presenting with a fungal nail infection may have nails that are discoloured, brittle, in-growing, crumbly or thickened. Again, it can easily spread to others.
Ringworm is of course not a worm at all but a fungus that earned its name thanks to the slightly raised, ring-shaped appearance on the skin. It mostly affects the legs, arms, and torso, but can also appear on the scalp. As with all fungal infections, a topical anti-fungal cream applied to the affected area should kill the fungus and help with any discomfort. More advanced cases may require oral antifungal treatment.
As a healthcare practitioner, are you confident in identifying and treating common fungal skin conditions?
If you would like to hone your skills in this area, PDUK recommends our course Recognising and managing acute skin conditions in primary care. Created especiallyfor healthcare professionals including primary care nurses, nurse practitioners and other allied health professionals, the course will help you recognise, diagnose, and treat common fungal skin conditions.
Delivered online via Zoom, this 1-day course is perfect for those looking to learn remotely. It’s flexible and interactive too – a great way to network with others and gain expert advice yourself. Worth 7 hours’ of CPD, it isthe ideal opportunity to increase your skills and knowledge to benefit your patients. But places are limited so make sure you sign up now!