Do's and don't: 7:10
Names of steroids: clobetasol propionate, halobetasol propionate, betamethasone valerate, triamcinolone acetonide, mometasone furoate, flucinolone acetonide, fluticasone propionate
Do's and don't: 7:10
Fungal infections of skin
Superficial fungal infections of skin are in the rise in India and become somewhat of an epidemic. It is important to understand the causes of fungal infection, precautions to be taken and effective treatment options. They are increasingly becoming a public health hazard with OPD’s being flooded with new cases of these fungal infections. Even though there are a variety of antifungals in the market, we are quickly going to run out of effective options if we do not control these infections properly.
There are many reasons for the sudden increase:
Urbanization, Over crowding, increased humidity, Long commute, Use of steroid creams,Non compliance to treatment leading to resistant strains
The commonly seen fungal infections of skin are caused by dermatophytes. These fungi are skin loving and break the top layer of skin to derive nutrition for survival. They occur in areas where there is water logging or sweat logging such as body folds in the groin area, armpit, in buttock area and under the breast in women.
They appear as round, lesions with scaling. They are itchy and cause significant discomfort. They may become red and even causes burning sensation and irritation.
What should you do?
Consult a qualified health care professional who can make the correct diagnosis and administer proper treatment. Do not take medicines from a chemist. We get patients who go to the chemist/ pharmacist and tell them they have itching in the groin and the chemist hands over the medication without even looking at the lesion or knowing the history of pat medication. This is dangerous. Pharmacist study about the drug, the molecule and are experts at dispensing the correct medication. They are not equipped to make a diagnosis and prescribe medication.
You will have to take oral antifungals for a period of 3 weeks to 3 months depending on severity and past treatment. Whenever you visit a doctor for recurrent infections, make sure you take all you old prescriptions along so the doctor has an idea of what all medications you have taken and how you have responded.
Please understand that you have to complete the course of antifungals as suggested by the treating doctor. You might notice improvement within a week of treatment. Na d because some of these medications are expensive, people tend to discontinue it mid-way. This should absolutely not be done. The fungus becomes inactive but is not completely cleared from your skin. So, until it completely clears, there is a high chance of it coming back.
So please please remember that is very very important to complete the course.
I do not want to name any brand of antifungal creams as these fungal infections need to be treated by health professionals and you must visit a doctor. It is not something that you can treat at home.
Important things to remember if you have fungal infection:
· Take bath daily: twice a day if possible
· Use a shower gel for bathing. If you use soap, use a small soap that can be discarded weekly.
· Dry yourself with a thin cotton towel. Towels need to be washed and ironed everyday
· Iron your undergarments, belt area of trousers before wearing
· Wear loose cotton clothing
· If you work out in the gym, make sure your clothes are sweat absorbent. Take a bath as soon as you finish your exercise and wash the attire daily.
· All our clothes have to be washed separately and sun dried
· Apply creams on the lesions and 2 cm area beyond the margin
· Keep nails short
· Do not scratch the lesion. If you inadvertently scratch, wash your hands immediately.
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