Three commonplace infections of the hand and feet are fungal nail infections, athlete's foot and candida infection. The treatment from these is invariably protracted so as to ensure that all traces of the infecting fungus are destroyed. A brief analysis of the three infections is as follows:
- Fungal nail infections are caused by yeast and molds and also a fungus belonging to a group known asdermatophytes. The first symptoms are a small white patch or patches beneath the nail. Other typical indications are distortion in the shape of the nails, thickening, brittle and crumbly edges, a dull lackluster appearance and a dark color under the nail because of debris collection.
Treatment includes topical or oral antifungal medication. Extreme cases might necessitate nail removal.
- Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the feet especially between the toes. The growth of a fungus is stimulated by the dark, moist, warm environment when wearing shoes. Athlete’s foot is highly contagious and contracted in places like swimming pools, bathing rooms and common showers. The symptoms are intense itching, inflammation, scaling, cracking of skin and oozing. The infection is characterized by foul smelling odor.
The treatment is generally by application of topical antifungal creams and ointments, and sometimes by oral medication. The treatment is long, often up to 45 days, so to ensure that the fungi are completely destroyed. More often than not patients tend to discontinue treatment once the itching is controlled. It is important to keep feet clean and dry and as far as possible to use only cotton socks.
- Candida infection affects the digestive tract, the mouth and the genital area. Normally natural bacteria in the system are able to counteract infections arising from Candida. However, if there is some imbalance then the Candida organism gives rise to an infection.
The most common manifestation is a vulvovaginal infection experienced by most women at some point in their life. Common symptoms are acute itching, irritation and burning during intercourse and urination. Before and after menstruation the hormonal balance is disrupted, during which period a woman is particularly susceptible to infection.
Treatment is generally through oral antifungal medication, and possibly the application of topical cream.
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