Sun, Fun and Fungal Infections

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Summer is a time to be outside having fun in the sun. We’re talking road trips, the beach, outdoor sports, the pool, camping…every great summer activity loved across America. However, the summer heat and humidity bring extra moisture to the air and can make us sweat, creating an ideal setting for fungal infections to develop. A fungal infection can hold you back from your favorite summer pursuits, so you should know what they are and how to treat them.  Here are five common summer fungal infections to watch out for.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is, as you may have guessed, a fungal infection on the foot. This common infection causes peeling, redness, itching, blisters, and sometimes soreness of the infected area. It thrives in warm, moist environments such as shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms, and public showers. Summer is a top season for this infection.  

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • Peeling, cracking, or scaling of the feet
  • Redness or blisters
  • Itching and/or burning sensation

Athlete’s foot is typically treated with an over-the-counter antifungal medication that’s placed directly on the skin. Feet must be kept clean and dry during the treatment process. You should consult a health care provider if the infected area does not improve after a few weeks of treatment, if you get a fever, notice excess swelling or redness, or if you have diabetes.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection (not a worm!) that develops on the top of your skin, causing a red circular rash. It is a contagious disease that can be contracted from humans, animals, objects, and soil. Those unsightly circles could ruin your beach body, so it’s important to understand ringworm’s symptoms and treatments.

Ringworm begins with a flat, scaly area on the skin, which may be itchy. The patch then develops a slightly raised border, forming a circular ring (although it doesn’t have to be a perfect circle!). The inner section of the ring can be clear, scaly, or have red bumps. You may even develop multiple rings. Sometimes the ring can occur on your scalp or in an area that isn’t immediately noticeable, so if you’re constantly itchy and can’t figure out why, you may want to see a doctor.

Ringworm is typically treated with over-the-counter antifungal lotion or cream. If the rash doesn’t begin to improve within two weeks, see at provider at FastMed Urgent Care!

Valley Fever

Fungi that cause valley fever live in the soil of the southwestern United States. When soil in this region is disrupted by something like construction, farming, or wind, the fungi’s spores can be launched into the air. The fungi can be breathed into the lungs, causing valley fever.

Symptoms of valley fever include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • A red, spotty rash

Valley fever is often treated like a cold or flu, with rest and fluids. If this does not help, a health care provider may prescribe you antifungal medication. While anyone can get valley fever, African Americans, Filipinos, and Hispanics are at higher risk for a severe form of the disease, so people of these ethnic backgrounds should be extra cautious.

Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor, though it doesn’t have a colloquial name, is almost as common as other, more well-known fungal infections of the skin. The fungus affects skin’s pigmentation, creating light or dark patches on the shoulders or midsection. If, like most people, your skin tends to get darker with sun exposure, the spots will be easier to see as they do not tan with the rest of your body.

The symptoms of tinea versicolor include:

  • Patches of skin discoloration on the back, chest, shoulders or upper arms
  • Mild itching
  • Scaling

The treatment consists of antifungal skin products such as shampoos, creams, and foams. If your skin doesn’t improve with self-help measures, the infection goes away and returns, or if the patches cover large areas of your body, see a medical professional. 

Jock Itch

Jock itch is no fun. This annoying fungal infection is actually a type of ringworm, and it thrives in warm, moist environments like the inner thighs, genitals, and buttocks. It appears as a red, itchy rash. That isn’t good for enjoying the sun in comfort!

The symptoms of jock itch include:

  • Itching, chafing or burning sensations on the inner groin or thigh
  • A circular, red rash with elevated edges
  • Redness of the groin or thigh
  • Flaking, peeling, or cracking skin

The typical treatment for jock itch is applying topical antifungal medication and keeping the infected area clean and dry.

Summer is no fun if you have to deal with a fungal infection. If you experience any of the above symptoms, get it taken care of quickly at your local FastMed. We can treat your condition fast at the location nearest you!

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