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 athletes foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris), ringworm (tinea corporis), and candida. These can affect the hair (tinea capitis) and nails (onychomycosis) as well. Deep fungal infections can be much more concerning – invading deeper layers of the skin and hair follicles and can spread to the blood or internal organs. Tinea versicolor is a related condition where a yeast (a type of fungus) can cause a skin rash.
These yeast infections are typically treated with either topical medication for more mild disease and oral medications for more moderate-severe disease.
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