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Fungal infections, or mycosis, are caused by fungi, which is common in the environment. Most fungi are not dangerous, but a small portion can be harmful to your health. In some cases, fungal infections can start in the lungs since some fungi reproduce through airborne spores.

Anyone can get fungal infections, although some people are more prone to them than others. Fungal infections are more likely if you already have a weakened immune system or are taking antibiotics.

In rare circumstances, fungi can cause serious conditions such as fungal meningitis or a bloodstream infection. In these rare cases, you will need to go to the ER immediately.

What are the symptoms of a fungal infection?

Since there are so many different kinds of fungal infections, the symptoms are diverse. Yeast infections (candida), ringworm and athlete’s foot are all examples of fungal infections. Some of the most common fungal infections occur on the lungs, feet, nails, groin, eyes and skin.

Common symptoms of many fungal infections are:

  • Rash
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Exhaustion
  • White patches in mouth
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Brittleness, yellowing or crumbling of nails
  • Blisters
  • Itchiness
  • Burning
  • Joint or chest pain

How are fungal infections treated?

Fungal infections are most often spread through contact or airborne spores. Some fungal infections, like athlete’s foot, are caused by dampness as well as contact. Occasionally, fungal infections need to be tested to help determine treatment. For some infections, over-the-counter antifungal powders, creams or ointments can help control them.

In general, you can help avoid fungal infections by:

  • Keeping feet dry and cool
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places
  • Keep toenails short
  • Avoid sharing footwear
  • Apply anti-fungal cream
  • Keep hands clean
  • Wear cotton clothing, especially underwear and socks
  • Stay inside during dust storms

Fungal infections are prone to re-occur after the first incident. While some can be treated with over-the-counter products, a healthcare provider will be able to treat, recommend the right antifungal medication and make sure your infection isn’t something more serious.

If you think you might have a fungal infection, locate your nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic to set up a visit and get the appropriate treatment. You can minimize your wait time with our Web Check-In®.

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