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fungal infections

Treatment of Fungal Diseases

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Fungi can live anywhere including soil, air, water, and other plants. Others also exist naturally in the human body. Even though some fungi are harmful and may cause serious infections, others are actually helpful. In the event that the harmful fungus invades the body, it is very difficult to terminate them and bring the body to its normal state. This is because they are able to survive in the environment and proceed to infect the individual trying to recover. This article focuses on the treatment of fungal infections. To properly understand the treatment of the infection, it is important to know the population at risk of being infected.

Who is at risk?

Fungal infections usually attack humans. They don’t pose a notable threat to the health of an individual when treated just in time and in the right manner. If you have an immune system that is generally weaker than a normal person, then consider yourself vulnerable to fungal infections. Same applies to individuals using antibiotics. Furthermore, it has been proved that diabetes and cancer treatments also exposes and individual to fungal infections.

Common fungal infections and how to treat them

  • Athlete’s foot

Otherwise known as Tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is one of the most common fungal infections today. This condition is mostly associated with athletes and sports since warm and moist environments provide a haven for the growth of the fungus. Such environments are sports equipment, socks, and even shoes. However, that is not to say that anyone else cannot be affected by athlete’s foot. You will find most cases of athlete’s foot in warm climates since it multiplies quickly.

Symptoms

The symptoms of athlete’s foot exhibit a variation from individual to individual. Some of the commonest symptoms however include:

  • Scaling and peeling away of the skin
  • Stinging, itching, or burning sensation in the affected regions
  • Cracking and peeling away of the skin
  • Redness and blisters on the affected area.
  • Softness of the infected skin.

Treatment and prevention

Note that not all itchy feet mean that you are suffering from athlete’s foot. There is a whole list of conditions which have itchy feet as a symptom, and as such you must not rush to conclude. To find out if there is fungus on the skin, doctors scrub out the scaling skin off the feet before inspecting it under a microscope.

Topical antifungal ointments do the treatment of athlete’s foot. However, when you are severely infected, you may need oral medication too. Besides, you will also need to keep your feet dry so that the fungi can die.

  • Jock itch

This is yet another common fungal infection though not as common as the athlete’s foot. They also thrive in warm environments which hasten their multiplication. They are mostly found in the regions groin, inner thighs, and even buttocks. It is mildly contagious and can be spread to another individual through contact.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Often times, you can identify jock itch by its appearance since it is very particular in its looks. The doctors can also scrap a part of the skin to confirm their diagnosis.

The treatment of jock itch is majorly using topical antifungal ointments and observing proper hygiene. Most cases are however improved by over the counter medication. Some may also require prescription medication, so avoid sharing objects like towels.

The above are some examples of fungal infections and how you can treat them. Noteworthy, is the fact that you should consider preventive measures rather than waiting to treat the infection altogether.

 

 

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Understanding Meningitis

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Meningitis is a fairly rare infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called meninges, hence the term meningitis. There are several types of meningitis:

  • Bacterial Meningitis is contagious among people in close contact and can be deadly.
  • Viral Meningitis is usually less severe, and most people recover completely from it.
  • Fungal Meningitis is rare and usually only appears in people with compromised immune systems.

How Does it Happen?

Most of the time, meningitis is caused by virus or bacterial infection. It begins elsewhere in the body, such as the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, or ears, and then spreads to the meninges. It can also be caused by medications, autoimmune disorders, or fungal infections, but these are more rare.

Bacterial Meningitis

This is a very serious illness that requires immediate medical attention. Death or permanent damage to the brain or other areas of the body can occur within hours if left untreated. There are several different kinds of bacteria that can cause it:

  • Meningococcus, which is the most common
  • Pneumococcus, which occurs in older patients with a weakened immune system
  • Haemophilus Influenza, type B, was common in infants and small children until a vaccine came out called hib.

Vaccines are also available for Meningococcus and Pneumococcus bacteria and are highly recommended for people with a special risk, such as a compromised immune system.

An infected person can pass the bacteria by sneezing or coughing. It is important for you to contact your health care provider if you are exposed to meningitis to find out what you can do to prevent contracting it. When bacteria gets into your bloodstream, it can travel to your brain and cause meningitis.

Viral Meningitis

This form of meningitis is more common and is usually less severe. There are many viruses that can trigger it, several of which cause diarrhea. Viral meningitis patients usually recover completely and are less likely to incur any brain damage.

Fungal Meningitis

This type of meningitis is rare. However, if you are suffering from a compromised immune system, from HIV for example, your chances of contracting it are greater.

Who is at Risk?

While anyone can contract meningitis, there are some age groups that have a higher incidence than others. These are:

  • Adults over age 55
  • Teens and Young Adults from age 16 to 25
  • Children under the age of 5

Certain medical conditions can also put you at risk, such as chronic disease or a damaged or missing spleen, and especially immune system disorders. These disorders occur when your immune system is either overactive or under active. When it is overactive, the body attacks itself; when it is under active, it decreases your ability to fight off infections. Some examples of immune system disorders are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Guillian Barre Syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Graves Disease
  • Vasculitis
  • Rheumatic Fever

Meningitis outbreaks are most likely to occur in areas where people are living in close quarters, such as a college dorm or army personnel living in barracks. This is because certain germs that cause it can be contagious. People who travel are also at higher risk, particularly if you are traveling to certain parts of Africa where the disease is known to be prevalent.

Keep in mind, however, that even if you are in one of the higher risk groups for contracting meningitis, it is still a rare disease, and there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of getting it.

 

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