Fungi are all around us. And unless we live in a bubble of some sort, our bodies are bound to encounter these spores at some point. People contract fungal infections by either inhaling, ingesting, or touching a certain type of fungus (namely mold, mildew, and yeast). If the fungus decides to make a home on your skin or inside your body, it can multiply and cause irritation, redness, swelling, itching, blistering, and more. While most fungal infections do not pose a serious threat to healthy individuals, they can spread from one person to another, decrease one’s quality of life, and cause complications such as secondary bacterial infections. As such, it’s important to seek the best treatment for your fungal infection when you notice signs and symptoms.
Most mild and common fungal infections can be treated with topical ointments, creams, gels, and sprays. These include:
1. Clotrimazole -- a cream or spray that can treat athlete's foot, ringworm, fungal nail infection, infected nappy rash, rash in folds of skin (intertrigo), and thrush
2. Miconazole -- a cream meant to treat vagnial yeast infections
3. Econazole -- a cream that treats fungal skin infections like jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm
4. Ketoconazole (Topical) -- a cream primarily used to treat fungal skin infections all over the body (including yeast infections and tinea versicolor); also available as an over-the-counter shampoo to reduce flaking, itching, dandruff, etc.
5. Terbinafine -- comes as a cream, gel or spray for treating fungal skin infections like the ones already mentioned
While topical antifungal medications are usually sufficient for clearing up mild to moderate infections, a more persistent fungal skin infection might not go away so easily. For these more stubborn fungal infections, your dermatologist or doctor might prescribe the following oral drugs:
6. Fluconazole -- available as both a swallowable capsule or liquid, this antifungal medication is used to treat infections caused by the yeast known as candida, such as thrush and bloodborne infections; this drug also helps prevent fungal infections from developing to protect the most vulnerable
7. Itraconazole -- an antifungal capsule that treats fungal infections in any part of the body, such as the fingernails, toenails, lungs, mouth, throat, and more.
8. Ketoconazole (Oral) -- as mentioned earlier, Ketoconazole can be used topically, but a more powerful oral version of the drug exists as well; used to treat tinea infections as well as those caused by candida and malassezia (yeasts)
The most severe fungal infections may require an antifungal injection for proper treatment, such as:
9. Amphotericin B -- used only to treat the most serious and life-threatening fungal infections; injected into a vein by a healthcare provider via an IV (the treatment may take 2-6 hours)
10. Fluconazole (Injection) -- there is also an injectable version of this drug, used to treat severe cases of many different fungal infections, such as yeast infections of the esophagus, mouth, throat, lungs, abdomen, blood, and more; also used to treat meningitis and prevent fungal growth in those most susceptible to becoming infected (i.e. those with compromised immune systems or on chemotherapy)
While it’s good to know that there are many ways to treat fungal infections, the best way to steer clear from a fungal rash or more severe problem is to protect your skin from becoming infected. Some ways to reduce your risk of getting infected include:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Staying clean and keeping up with personal hygiene
Keeping your immediate environment clean and sanitary
Avoiding direct contact with public surfaces and others who may be infected
Separating towels, sheets, and clothing from those who are currently infected