The word “fungus” comes from the Greek word for mushroom. Common in all parts of the world, scientists list more than 70,000 species of fungus. Important to humans, varieties of fungus contribute to our daily diet, in the form of yeast for baking and in the fermentation process of fruits used to make wine and antibiotics. However, fungus becomes a problem when it acts as a parasite in the human body. Getting rid of fungus involves preventing its reproduction.
Reduce moisture to decrease the production of fungus in the human body. The most common form of fungus is athlete’s foot, so named because athletes whose feet sweat are prone to developing the fungus. Take off wet shoes and wash your feet thoroughly every day, going barefoot as much as possible.
Purchase over-the-counter anti-fungal creams for a mild case of athlete’s foot and massage it into the affected areas before going to bed. In addition, avoid going barefoot in public showers and locker rooms. Wear an inexpensive pair of rubber flip-flops for protection.
Shower immediately after workouts or training if you experience jock itch, another form of tinea fungus that affects the groin area. Use a good anti-bacterial body wash and dry the area thoroughly. Apply medicated body powder and wash your athletic support equipment after each use.
Observe a rash that appears in ring shapes on your skin. Ringworm is another variation of the tinea fungus that affects the outer layer of the skin in no particular region of the body. Look for a scaly circular patch with defined edges. Ringworm, in advanced stages of infection, may ooze and blister and hair follicles within the affected area will not produce hair.
Treat pets with ringworm infection to prevent the spread of the fungus to humans. Anti-fungal cream usually treats ringworm successfully within a month, but it is still wise to see a doctor for an initial diagnosis.
Wear only your own shoes, socks and undergarments to prevent the spread of the tinea fungus.
Notice small ridges or bumps on fingernails or toenails when fungus affects the region. A common complaint heard by podiatrists is that of thickened and discolored nails. When this occurs, you can purchase anti-fungal nail polishes or rub a menthol-based ointment, such as Vick's Vapor Rub, on the affected nail twice a day.
Expect to treat a fingernail or toenail fungus for up to six months before it is completely gone. In addition to your treatments, a doctor may prescribe oral anti-fungal medication to be taken daily for three or more months.
Schedule surgery to remove a toenail or fingernail that does not respond to medication or topical treatment.
See your doctor for an initial diagnosis of any fungal infection as a precaution to rule out another skin condition.
Left untreated, nail fungus can spread to other nails, creating an unsightly and painful condition.