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What are antifungals?
They are a class of drugs which are used to treat fungal infections. The mechanism of action of the drugs includes inhibition of fungal membrane and cell wall synthesis, alterations of the fungal membrane, effects on microtubules, and inhibition of nucleic acid synthesis.
The antifungal medication are of the following types,
- Topical – Antifungal cream, gel, ointment. Can be used on skin, hair, and nails.
- Systemic – Antifungal pills, tablet, syrup.
- Intravenous – Injected in veins in arms by injection.
- Intravaginal – A capsule or tablet is inserted in the vagina to dissolve and treat fungus.
Types of fungal infections and symptoms
Athlete’s foot ( foot fungal infection ) – Its symptoms include peeling, redness, itching, burning, and blisters on the skin. It has three types, interdigital (toe area), Moccasin ( involves whole sole area ), vesicular (fluid-filled blisters on foot).
Jock itch (moist areas of the body) – Affects genitals, inner thighs, buttocks. Symptoms include an itchy red rash, ring-shaped, itching in groin areas, circular red raised rash, elevated edges, flaking, peeling, and cracking skin.
Ringworm – Worm does not cause it. It can appear anywhere in the body. Symptoms include red circular flat sore with scaly skin, maybe more than one patch. Patches may also overlap.
Yeast infections – caused by yeast-like fungi called candida, which occurs in moist areas like armpits, groin, etc. May cause diaper rash or sanitary napkin rash during menstrual.Can affect nails, mouth, and vagina. Yeast infection appears as rash patches with clear fluid, pimple bumps, itching, white or yellow nail that separates from the skin bed. There are special yeast infection creams in the market.
Causes of fungal infections
- A microscopic fungus which is present on dead tissue on hair and toenails
- They Thrive of fungus in warm, moist areas of the body
- Warm wet climate
- Direct contact with a person suffering from fungal infection
- Sharing of clothing furniture other personal things
- Unhygienic washrooms
- Excessive active growth of yeast
Drugs used in fungal infections
- Systemic antifungals
- Polyenes (amphotericin B)
- Triazoles (ketoconazole, fluconazole, itraconazole)
- Topical antifungals
- Imidazole’s ( clotrimazole, econazole, miconazole, terconazole )
- Wearing shoes that allow feet to breathe.
- Daily washing of feet.
- Drying properly after the shower and using antifungal powders.
- Basic hygiene practices.
- Not sharing of personal items like a towel and under wares.
- Use medications; ultimately, the fungus may be present even after the rash is gone.
- Change undergarments, towel, bedsheets, and socks regularly.
- Don’t wear tight clothes.
- Avoid walking barefoot in gyms, washrooms, or locker-room.
- Keep nails short.
- Avoid contact with people with fungal infections.
- Discard old footwear after a certain period.
- Specimen collection for microscopy or culture.
- Scrape a scale from rash after cleaning with alcohol.
- Skin stripped off with adhesive tape which is then stuck on a glass slide.
- Pulling of hair from roots.
- Collecting nail clipping.
- Skin biopsy.
- Moist swab collection from vagina or mouth to armpit.
- A direct microscopy, fluorescent staining, unstained wet mount, stained drier smear.
- Blood tests for people with profound and disseminated fungal infection.
- Antibodies ( histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis).
- Antigen (cryptococcosis, candidosis).
I get fungal infections every summer, how do I prevent?
– Take extra care during summers. Wear airy clothes and shoes, maintain clean habits after the gym or sports activities.
Can pets get fungal infections, are they contagious?
– Yes, all animals are prone to fungal infections, and they are contagious.
Does any other form of medication effect or cause fungal infection?
– Yes, any new antibiotic treatment that causes a change in the immune system may make a person prone to fungal infections.