Fungal Infection Overview

Home  /  Caregivers  /  Fungal Infection Overview

On February 13, 2014, Posted by , In Caregivers,General Information, By ,,,, , With Comments Off on Fungal Infection Overview

Overview of Fungal Infections

Most people are familiar with infections and diseases caused by bacteria and viruses, but many are unaware that there is a whole set of disorders related to infections by fungi (singular: fungus). Many of these fungal infections affect the skin.

Doctors give some fungal infections of the skin the general name “tinea.” Superficial fungal infections are found in the top layers of the skin and mucous membranes, the hair, and the nails. Examples of fungal infections of the skin and other external surfaces include athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and candida. These can affect the hair and nails as well. Deep fungal infections invade deeper layers of the skin and hair follicles and can spread to the blood or internal organs.



Fungi are a unique group of organisms that have some plantlike characteristics. Examples of fungi include mushrooms, mold, and yeast. Fungi differ from plants, however, in two major ways: (1) their cell walls are made of chitin, rather than cellulose, and (2) they lack the ability to make their own food by photosynthesis; thus they grow directly on their food source. This food source can be the human skin.

Some fungi are simple one-celled organisms. Others are relatively complex, exhibiting specialized cell functions. They grow in soil, on living and dead plants and trees, as well as on animals and humans. The reproductive cell, or spore, of a fungus can be spread by direct contact, air, and water.

Types of Fungal Infections

Fungi (singular is fungus) are primitive organisms that live in and on air, water, soil, and other surfaces. Some types of fungus reproduce by sending tiny spores through the air. When these spores land on and grow on the body, they can cause fungal infections. People who have a weakened immune system and those who are taking certain medicines (e.g., antibiotics, corticosteroids) are at increased risk for fungal skin infections.

Fungal infections often are difficult to treat. Treatment often involves topical (applied to the skin or nail) or oral (swallowed) medications called antifungals. The type of antifungal used depends on the specific type of fungus (e.g., tinea, candida [yeast]) that is causing the infection.

There are many different types of fungal infections. Common types include the following:

  • Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)
  • Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)
  • Tinea Capitis
  • Onychomycosis
  • Tinea Versicolor
  • Cutaneous Candidiasis


Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today! If you live in Franklin or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

Comments are closed.