Dr. Kerryn Greive Talks About Fungal Infections

March 22, 2013

This month we broach a slightly uncomfortable topic – Fungal infections. Dr. Kerryn Greive PhD, Scientific Affairs Manager at Ego Pharmaceuticals helps clear up this touchy topic.

“Tinea is the most common type of fungal infection. In fact, 10 to 20% of people will suffer from tinea at some point in their lives and most of these people will suffer from it more than once. Tinea can affect skin on any part of the body – from the scalp to the feet. It can also affect the hair and nails. This is because fungi live off keratin, a protein that makes up skin, hair and nails,” says Dr. Greive.

Dr. Greive continues: “The fungi causing tinea grow best in moist, humid places, so tinea is often found in areas of the body prone to sweat, such as the feet and under the arms. People tend to refer to tinea by different names depending on where it is on the body. For example, tinea affecting the feet is commonly called ‘athlete’s foot’.”

Whilst talking about types of fungal infections, Dr. Greive also said: “Yeast infections are the other major group of fungal infections. They are caused by a different group of fungi to tinea, the most common of which is a yeast called Candida albicans. This is why you may also hear thrush or yeast infections referred to as ‘Candida infections’.”

So how do people pick up tinea, thrush and other fungal infections? Dr. Greive says: “The fungi that cause all these infections thrive in warm, moist environments so they are typically found living in shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms and the floors of public showers – All places with humid conditions. Fungi can be ‘picked up and passed on’ whenever our skin comes into contact with fungi living in any of these places.”

Dr. Greive advises: “It is important that anti-fungal treatments be continued for the recommended time period.  As the treatment regimen for each product can be different it is very important to read the instructions on the pack each time it is used. Even if the symptoms have disappeared the fungal infection can still be present. If treatment is stopped too early the fungal infection may come back.  So remember to read the directions on the pack and follow them carefully.”

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