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  • Dr. Kaplan – Fungal Infections


    It is easy to get a fungal infection. Fungi (plural of fungus) spread easily from person to person. Many people get infected through close personal contact with the infected person. Sharing an object that was touched by an infected person (e.g. towel or comb) can get a fungal infection. It can also be contracted by touching soil or animals that was previously touched by the infected. Many fungal skin develop on a skin, but a fungal infection also can affect the nails.

    People increase their risk of getting a fungal infection when their skin stays wet for long time. Fungi grows quickly in warm, moist areas.   Underclothes, shower tiles, and pool decks are common places for fungi to grow.

    For most people, the infection causes a mild rash, itching. If a person has a weak immune systems caused by diseases such as HIV or cancer, the itching and rash can be more severe.


    Athlete’s foot are usually caught by walking barefoot through a public restroom or deck of swimming pool. Athlete’s foot usually starts between the toes, where the skin itches, peels, and flakes. Without treatment the disease can get worse, and an itchy watery blaster can develop.A dermatologist can usually diagnose athlete’s foot just by looking. Sometimes a medical test may be necessary to confirm the presence of athlete’s foot and that it is not another skin condition that bear the same characteristics, such as contact dermatitis or psoriasis.

    If the Athlete’s foot is mild, an anti-fungal cream often works well to relieve burning and itching, and to clear the skin. If it is more severe, an anti-fungal pill may be prescribed. Because athlete’s foot is contagious, to prevent getting athlete’s foot again, or for the first time, follow these tips:

    • Do not walk barefoot in gyms, shower or locker areas, pools, or hotel rooms, because the fungus may be present on the floor. Wear shower shoes, flip-flops or sandals to protect your feet.
    • Wear sandals or flip-flops during hot summer months. If this is not possible, sprinkle an anti-fungal powder on the feet and inside the shoes or boots.
    • Do not wear other people’s shoes.
    • Wash your feet daily with soap, and completely dry your feet.
    • Wear socks made of fabric that dries quickly or keeps moisture away from the skin. Be sure to change your socks every day, and sooner if it gets wet.


    This fungal infection often affects the big toe, causing the nail to thicken and turn yellow. Sometimes the nail crumbles. Nail fungus tends to be more common in people who have had AT for a while or have injured a nail.The infection can also affect a fingernail, but it is less common. Both can be hard to treat. A prescription anti—fungal pills may be necessary.


    Jock itch is a rash that begins in the groin area. This rash is itchy, has a red border, and can spread. It affects both men and women. Those that sweat a lot may be more likely to get jock itch. OTC anti-fungal creams are helpful, but not as effective as prescription ones.


    Ringworm causes a red, itchy, flaky patch that looks more like a ring as it grows. A prescription anti-fungal cream or a pill may be prescribed.


    Scalp ringworm is most common in children. It can cause flaking on the scalp and hair loss. It is important to see a dermatologist for treatment. With the right treatment, the hair will grow back in time.

    All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology.