Monsoon illness part 4 - Fungal infections
You know that feeling don’t you!
That sudden urge to itch the wrong part of your body when you’re in an important meeting with your boss or right when you’re in the middle of a very interesting date - Yeah!
Most people have been there but no one wants to discuss it! It’s an extremely embarrassing situation and most people prefer to sweep it under a rug.
So we thought we’d start a conversation about these fungal infections
As the monsoons recede and we step into October heat we will see more and more of this infection spread.
They usually look like scaly patches on your skin and are painless but can be very itchy. Commonly seen in areas where sweat accumulates like your between your toes or fingers, groin, axilla, under your breasts or skin folds.
Many Fungi normally reside in the upper layers of your skin (epidermis) but do not penetrate deeper. When there is an irritation of the skinfolds or a break down they can proliferate. The most common cause for that happening is excess moisture on your skin.
• Sweating and accumulating of sweat in these areas,
• Staying in wet clothes for prolonged periods of time, especially the ends of your trousers or sleeves of your shirts that have gotten wet.
• Poor hygiene, not bathing properly.
• Obese people, diabetics are more prone to these infections.
• Maintain your personal hygiene - have a bath everyday. And keep yourself clean.
• Keep moisture away from your skin especially the skin folds. Use powder in case you are prone to sweating. Keep these problem areas like your toes and finger webs, groin , axilla dry.
• Wear breathable fabrics, avoid synthetic fabrics that make you sweat and do not absorb it away.
• In case of obese and diabetic people - take adequate precautions.
One would assume that this year, considering the lockdown and the fact that most people stayed home for the better part of the year, that these fungal infections wouldn’t be as common. However we have seen a significant rise in the numbers - Probably because of poor hygiene while staying home.
Another thing we have noticed while treating these infections is they are taking longer to treat and are resistant to most anti fungal medications - this is because most people are too embarrassed to come forward and talk to doctors and take the appropriate medicines / formulations required for treatment and prefer to take whatever over the counter ointment they get their hands on. This leads to resistance of the fungi to the medications. If more microbes develop resistance to the treatment options we have, we are left with very few medications in hand to treat you.
So, in case you do develop these infections, please seek help from your doctors and let them prescribe the appropriate medication for you. Do not self medicate.
Stay safe, stay healthy.
Keep those pesky fungi away.
Dr Vijayshree Patil
Anaesthesiologist and Critical Care Specialist