Fungal skin infections of the skin, the hair and the nails (Fungal Nail Infection) are caused by microorganisms called fungi.
Depending on the fungus that has caused the infection, fungal infections are distinguished in dermatophytosis, candidiasis, pityrosporosis and uncommon infections caused by rare fungal species. As a disease, fungal infection does not threaten our overall health, but if left untreated, it can cause severe damage or to combine and cause a widespread fungal infection in different body areas.
Furthermore, it can cause pain, tenderness upon pressure and, especially in the case of fungal nail infection, nail thickening or nail detachment, leading to serious psychological, social and employment related problems. Depending on the site localization, Clinical forms of fungal infections are classified as follows:
- Fungal Nail Infection – Dermatophytic Onychomycosis: Characterized by nail thickening (subungual hyperkeratosis), changing of the color of the nail and nail friability.
- Fungal Nail Infection – Candida Nail Infection: Especially common in people who tend to wash their hands frequently. It can affect the skin surrounding the nail (paronychia) and may appear yellow, while in later stages, onycholysis may occur.
- Infection of the scalp – Tinea Capitis: This disease varies from mild skin exfoliation to single or multiple patches of hair loss or highly inflammatory purulent lesions.
- Barber’s itch – Tinea Barbae: It can occur in the form of red plaques with exfoliation, follicular purulent lesions or it may have an atypical form.
- Ringworm – Tinea Corporis: It can be found on the trunk, upper and lower extremities, and is characterized by the occurrence of red plaques with exfoliation, usually round in shape.
- Jock itch – Tinea Cruris: It is a dermatophyte fungal infection of the thigh-groin region and the buttocks. It occurs as a well-demarcated red patch, originally located unilaterally, which then extends bilaterally.
- Fungal infection on hands & feet – Tinea Manuum & Tinea Pedis: It is distinguished in hyperkeratotic and dyshidrotic type. The former is characterized by the presence of multiple small hyperkeratotic blisters which rupture and lead to the appearance of erythematosus scaly plaques. The latter is characterized by the appearance of multiple dispersed blisters or bullae.
Treatment of fungal nail infection should be carried out by a specialist Dermatologist, who is the most specialized person to diagnose the infection and choose the appropriate treatment.
The steps of proper treatment are as follows:
- Treatment using General Measures – Especially in cases of Onychomycosis: Keep hands and feet clean and dry, avoid excessive washing, avoid sharing towels and other personal health items, avoid walking barefoot in public swimming polls, showers and sand.
- Treatment using ND-Yag Laser – Especially in cases of Onychomycosis: A quick, easy, painless and very effective treatment of fungal nail infections. The laser light eradicates fungi naturally, without the side effects caused by drugs.
- Treatment using Topical Formulations: Ideal for treating mild and early forms of fungal infections, as well as for patients who have contraindications to orally administered drugs (lasts several months).
- Treatment with Orally Administered Formulations: Very effective in specific forms of fungal infections. As the treatment lasts for several months, frequent blood tests are required in order to avoid adverse reactions caused by these medical preparations.
Fungal Infection| FAQs
Are fungal nail infections contagious?
Avoiding contact with the sand and common areas with bare feet, such as public swimming pool and showers, is a prerequisite for treatment. Keeping the area dry is the first step to fight this infection. Especially at the feet, frequent sweating complicates the treatment and thus, it should be avoided.
Who gets a fungal nail infection?
Onychomycosis account for 50% of all nail disorders and can affect both men and women, but they rarely affect children. Men suffer from onychomycosis more often than women do.
It most commonly affects the toenails and to a lesser extend the fingernails. Thirty percent (30%) of the patients presenting with onychomycosis have some form of skin fungal infection.
The frequency of onychomycosis has generally increased in recent years due to factors such as diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression as well as the increase in average life expectancy.
It is worth mentioning that fungal nail infections are 30 times more common in adults compared to the younger population, where the incidence of onychomycosis in people aged less than 18 years is only 2.6%, and 90% in the elderly population.
Why ND-Yag Laser is the most effective treatment method for fungal nail infections?
ND-Yag Laser treatment is the most innovative method to deal with fungal infections. The Laser has the ability to treat the fungus that is under the nail, without harming its surface and the surrounding skin.
It is a virtually painless procedure, performed without anesthesia. It lasts 15-20’ and usually 4-6 sessions are needed with 30-day intervals. Nail fungus treatment is successful when the new nail is healthy