Fungal infections of the skin and its structures, such as hair and nails, are common in all regions of the world. Fungal infections are commonly called 'ringworm' but are not caused by worms. They are superficial infections of the skin, hair or nails caused by a variety of fungi which generally live in the soil, on animals, or sometimes only on people.
How fungal infection spreads
These infections are easily spread by direct skin contact (with humans or animals), or indirectly from contaminated articles. Shared changing rooms and showers are a common source of skin and hair infections, while some infections are spread by sharing of items such as towels. People shed tiny pieces of skin all the time and if these contain a small amount of the fungus, it is able to survive in the environment and cause infection in someone else.
Fungal infections can turn into serious problems if not taken care of immediately. It is best to maintain daily hygiene to prevent getting infected in the first place.
Here are 25 simple steps to prevent fungal infections of skin, hair and nails:
1. Keep the scalp clean and dry.
2. Do not share hats, combs or brushes with others.
3. Children should use their own combs and brushes and should not share with other family members.
4. Wear clean clothes every day.
5. Make sure your clothes fit correctly, especially underwear, athletic supporters and sports uniforms.
6. Avoid tight fitting clothes, which can rub and chafe your skin and make you more susceptible to jock itch.
8. Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent any infection.
9. Toe nails should be kept short and clean .
10. Feet should be dried completely and immediately after bathing.
11. Wear clean cotton socks.
12. Change your socks and shoes as needed to keep your feet dry.
13. The clothing and linen of infected persons should be frequently laundered in hot water to rid them of the fungus.
14. Clean sinks, bathtubs and bathroom floors well after using.
15. Do not wear thick clothing for long periods of time in warm and humid weather. This makes you sweat more.
16. Keep your groin area dry.
17. Dry your genital area and inner thighs thoroughly with a clean towel after showering or exercising. Use powder around your groin area to prevent excess moisture.
18. Wearing shoes that are well ventilated and made of natural material such as leather may help prevent fungal infections in the feet. Do not wear plastic lined shoes.
19. Do not walk barefoot in public places.
20. Wear shower shoes or sandals in warm, damp areas. This includes shower stalls, near swimming pools and locker rooms. This will help in preventing spread of fungal infections.
21. By not taking the entire course of antifungal medication, resistant fungi may develop that no longer responds to common antifungal medication. This has the potential to turn easily treatable infections into serious ones.
22. Failure to take the treatment in the proper dosage, or for as long as prescribed, runs the risk that the infection will not be adequately treated, leading to a persistent or recurrent infections.
23. Do not let anyone else take your medication, it may harm them even if their symptoms are the same as yours.
24. Regular veterinary care is very important and it is recommended that you should wash hands after handling your pets.
25. Lastly, do remember to consult your nearby dermatologist, if you suspect any signs of fungal infections on the scalp and body.
Consult a dermatologist in case the infection is spreading or getting severe.