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Fungal Skin Infections
Fungal skin infections are extremely common in Singapore due to the warm and humid climate. They are easily misdiagnosed and mistreated. They can cause a lot of frustrations and embarrassment due to their appearance. The truth is that fungal skin infections are not difficult to treat. These are the common fungal skin infections we see in Singapore.
Ringworm is probably the most common fungal skin infection in this part of the world. We have patients coming in for ringworm infection every day. They can affect any part of your body.
Ringworm is a common term used for superficial fungal infection of the skin. They are scientifically called tinea corporis (body), tinea cruris (groin) and tinea capitis (scalp). They appear as red, scaly and rounded patches on the skin. They have well defined borders and tend to form a ring. Although being called ringworm, they are not worms!
2. White spots
White spot is a superficial fungal infection of the skin. It is also known as Panau. The medical term is Pityriasis versicolour or Tinea versicolour.
They usually affect adults, causing an itchy and scaly rash. They often appear as white, pink or brown patches on the covered sweaty area such as trunk, neck and shoulders. They are aggravated by excessive sweating.
3. Athlete’s foot
Scientifically known as tinea pedis, it is called athlete’s foot because historically it always affects the athletes who wear shoes all the time. It causes itchy and irritating rashes on the soles and toewebs. The skin becomes very scaly and may peel when one keeps scratching it. It can affect the toenails.
This is a yeast infection. It often affects moist areas such as armpits and groins. It can also occur on the genitals and causes vaginal discharge in women, and penile itchiness in men. It appears as itchy red spots or patches.
How do I get rid of fungal skin infections?
Fungal skin infections can be treated although there is a possibility of recurrence especially if the treatment is not optimal.
Topical anti-fungal cream is the mainstay of treatment. A combination of steroid plus anti-fungal cream is usually given to reduce the itchiness and discomfort. It has to be used for about 4-6 weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
It is important that you do not stop using the medication even when the rash has cleared. You have to continue applying the cream for at least 7 days after the rash has disappeared. If treatment is not optimal, chances of recurrence are high.
Sometimes, oral anti-fungal medication is needed especially if the infection is severe or affects large areas. Do inform your doctor if you are pregnant because oral treatment may not be safe for pregnancy.