Three Types Of Fungi Responsible For Most Fungal Skin Infections

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footodorThree types of fungi are primarily responsible for the majority of fungal skin infections that afflict millions of Americans each year, says Joshua Fox, MD, medical director and founder of Advanced Dermatology P.C. Trichophyton, microsporum and epidermophyton, all part of the fungal genera category, are the three main culprits. Fungal infections of the skin account for about four million visits a year to outpatient medical facilities in the U.S. alone.

To understand how pervasive and hard-to-treat fungal skin infections can be, it is good to know how they emerge, explains Dr. Fox. Often described as superficial fungus infections, the microscopic organisms that cause them feed on warm, moist, dark environments, like the feet and the jock area. The four main microorganisms that cause fungal skin infections include bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.

Athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm

Athlete’s foot is perhaps the most common of the fungal skin infections and very often one of the most stubborn, says Dr. Fox. There are three different types, including interdigital athlete’s foot, the most common form; moccasin athlete’s foot, which begins on the sole and spreads to the side of the foot; and vesicular athlete’s foot, which is the least common and shows up as blisters on the bottom of the foot. In fact, athlete’s foot (“jungle rot” as it was called) was one of the most the most common foot problems Vietnam veterans have suffered, and they still plague many veterans today.

The clinical reason for such outbreaks is due to an imbalance of microorganisms in the body, Dr. Fox explains. “A decrease in bacteria and an increase in the growth of fungi, sometimes caused by the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, is a common culprit,” he adds.

Jock itch is also a common complaint, especially among men. Jock itch, a form of ringworm, usually occurs in the groin area and on the upper, inner thighs and buttocks.

Ringworm, which can occur on the hands, nails, feet or scalp, typically appears as a circular rash with patches that may be red or peeling or have bumps that resemble blisters. Like the symptoms of athlete’s foot, the infected areas are often itchy and can spread easily. Blistering and cracking of the skin is particularly common on the feet.

A yeast-like fungus, known as Candida, is the culprit behind the common vaginal yeast infection, says Dr. Hu. Such yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes without ever causing infection, she explains. But overgrowth of such organisms can produce an infection in certain areas of the body, adds Dr. Hu.

Tips for treating fungal skin infections

If over-the-counter medications don’t eliminate irritating fungal skin infections, Dr. Fox suggests medical intervention. The kind of treatment that’s given for most fungal skin infections depends on the severity of one’s condition, he notes. For some, oral treatment is the only solution.

“Many people have suffered with fungal skin infections for years,” Dr. Fox says. The choice of oral anti-fungal medications depends on the type of fungus that needs to be treated, the affected area, other co-existing diseases that a person might have and interactions with other medications currently being taken. The most common oral medications are Lamisil, Sporanox and Griseofulvin.

Maintaining best hygiene practices is perhaps the best way to prevent fungal skin infections from recurring or even happening at all. To prevent athlete’s foot, for example, Dr. Fox suggests wearing footwear in public locker rooms and shower areas. One should wash the feet daily and most importantly, dry them thoroughly. Wearing shoes that give feet room to breathe and wear cotton socks and underwear. If necessary use a powder to keep them dry.

Dr. Fox says that while fungal skin infections can be annoying to deal with, proper treatment and attention to hygiene practices can keep such conditions from recurring.

“Unfortunately there is evidence that fungal infections of the skin can recur, even after treatment,” says Dr. Fox. “However, with careful adherence to good hygiene and close monitoring we find that most patients can overcome fungal skin infections.”

Advanced Dermatology P.C., the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) provides cutting edge medical, laser & cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery services. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com

Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery

Judy Hu, M.D., F.A.A.D. is a board certified dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology P.C. Dr. Hu specializes in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology with extensive experience in skin rejuvenation utilizing injections and laser therapy.

How To Take Care Of Your Child Against Skin Infections?

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By Brendon Buthello

kidsChildren are more prone to the skin disorders than adults mainly because of their carefree attitude and as they lack medical knowledge. They tend to take the skin disorders very lightly and are often seen to mingle with an infected person irrespective of making them alert of the consequences. Besides, it is always required to keep an eye on their habits concerning cleanliness. For parents and caregivers preventing skin disorders to transmit to their children is a responsibility that needs constant vigil. Here below we will discuss on four crucial aspects to take care of your child against skin infections.

Getting infected through direct contact

Children have a carefree and casual approach to illness, especially if it seems to them as merely an inconvenience on body surface but not a very painful or threatening one. Medically speaking a majority of the skin disorders is contagious. Children thanks to their casual simplicity often forget the danger involved in getting close to a person with skin disorder. Maybe the person in the next door suffers from skin rashes for a long time without your knowing. He may reach to your child for caressing or for engaging in a merry pastime and though it seems perfectly innocent and harmless, chances of transmitting a skin disorder lurks there.

Getting infected indirectly

There are more to be careful when it is about getting infected indirectly. There is multitude of avenues to get skin infection and a vast majority of them are indirect in nature. You might have made full proof arrangement to assure that your child does not come into contact with anybody with a skin disorder and you might have thoroughly maintained cleanliness inside the house. But irrespective of all these suddenly you may observe fungal infection in his body. You wonder how it happened in spite of so many precautions. It is quite simple, the groceries, vegetables, fruits and all those items that come from stores might have been handled by an infected person. In schools or playground your child may come to direct contact with someone infected or items used by infected one. While such exposures are hard to avoid you can at least guard your children by maintaining utmost cleanliness. Make sure that when coming from outside the exposed body parts are cleaned thoroughly and garments are cleaned regularly.

Transmission through droplets

groupkidswbgThere are many infectious diseases that transmit through droplets and contagious or infectious skin disorders are no exception in this regard. Droplets are nothing but moisture expelled from the nasal tract. Our respiratory tract is most sensitive to infections of any kind and naturally when a person is infected it can affect others through droplets as well. The infection borne moisture in the respiratory tract can quickly transmit when the infected person sneezes, exhales breath or expectorates cough. Make sure that your children do not get close to anyone suffering from such infectious disorders. Insist on boosting their immunity to fight all these airborne infections including that can be transmitted through droplets.

Airborne infections

From the dust particles in the air or from other pollutions also your children can get infected with skin disorders. Hardly you can ensure a throughout protection from these invisible airborne infections. But obviously you can take some preventive measures and protections to stop them from getting inroads into the body. First of all, try to let them remain in cool and dry conditions as long as possible and make them avoid getting moist and get into dusty atmosphere. Secondly, insist strengthening their immune system to fight the germs and fungal infections from within. Against airborne infections boosting immune system is the best guard.

Brendon Buthello is a healthcare blogger at ranzynn.com. He spends time to get detail knowledge of different types of skin infections and how to protect yourself from these skin disorders.

MRSA Infections Pose Increased Risk For Seniors

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Submitted by David Brimm

seniors2Antibiotics are usually effective for treating bacterial infections, but due to the proliferation of antibiotic treatments, some types of bacteria are showing resistance to treatment. One of the bacteria that is causing concern is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines MRSA as a type of staphlococcal (staph) bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin.

The proportion of healthcare-associated staphylococcal infections that are due to MRSA has been increasing: 2 percent of S. aureus infections in U.S. intensive-care units were MRSA in 1974; 22 percent in 1995; and 64 percent in 2004.

“The symptoms of MRSA depend on where you’re infected. Most often, it causes mild infections on the skin, like sores or boils. What concerns health professionals is that while MRSA is serious it is not usually life threatening in younger, healthier patients, but it can cause more serious infections in wounds, the bloodstream, bones, the lungs, or the urinary tract in seniors and in immune compromised individuals,” according to Mardy Chizek, RN, FNP, BSN, MBA, AAS and president of Westmont, Illinois’ Charism Eldercare Services.

Chizek notes that a study from Linköping University in Sweden indicates that the mortality rate can be 50 percent higher for intensive care patients infected with MRSA. This means added risk to seniors who may be compromised from other conditions or diseases. Patients may enter the hospital already carrying the MRSA organism (in fact, 30 percent of us carry staph bacteria in our noses). Many hospitals culture patients for MRSA when they enter the hospital in an attempt to be proactive with treatment.

Serious staph infections are more common in people with a weakened immune system. A weakened immune system may be due to drugs, surgery or therapies or may be due to aging. As our body ages, it is less able to fight infections as vigorously as when we were younger. Diseases like cancer, lung disease, heart disease and immune related conditions also increase the risk of an adverse outcome due to MRSA.

The CDC notes that most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. They often first look like spider bites or bumps that are red, swollen, and painful. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men). The infection may also be accompanied by fever, swollen and red areas, and may be seen around surgical wounds or invasive devices, like catheters or feeding tubes.

seniormanInfections in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are not always preventable. Patients and visitors bring their own body’s normal bacteria to the institution. Other patients have infections that bring them to the hospital and they require intensive antibiotic treatment. Is it any wonder that MRSA and other infections are always in healthcare facilities?

The best way to protect yourself is a good hand washing. The type of soap and temperature of the water are less important than the friction. A fun rule of thumb is to wash your hands to the tune of Yankee Doodle. When you are done with the song, your hands have received an adequate scrub.

Alcohol solutions are equally effective, but must cover the entire surface of the hand like hand washing. You never completely rid your hands of organisms, but you decrease the number of organisms to a point where the number of bacteria or virus are minimized and less able to spread infection.

“As with any other change, report it to your healthcare provider as soon as you note or suspect an infection. Fever, heat, redness and pain are indicators of a bacterial infection and may require antibiotic therapy. But remember, that over utilization of antibiotics have prompted the onset of bacteria like MRSA that are immune to some antibiotics”, Chizek warns. She adds that, “prudent use of antibiotics will allow bacteria to continue to be sensitive to existing antibiotics.”
For more information on MRSA or infections in seniors, visit Charism Eldercare Services at www.charism.net.