Fungal Infection Sign & Symptoms and Treatment with Antifungals

A fungal infection, also called mycosis, is a skin disease caused by a fungus. There are millions of species of fungi. They live in the dirt, on plants, on household surfaces, and on your skin. Sometimes, they can lead to skin problems like rashes or bumps. Fungal Infection Symptoms are Irritation, Scaly skin, Redness, Itching, Swelling, Blisters


  • Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). This type of ringworm affects the skin between the toes or on the soles of your feet. It causes scaly, peeling, or cracked skin and sometimes blisters. You may feel itchy, especially after taking off your shoes and socks, and your feet might smell bad. You can get athlete’s foot if you wear tight-fitting shoes and your feet become sweaty. This condition is common among athletes and other people who sweat heavily.
  • Jock itch (tinea cruris). This type of ringworm causes an itchy rash in the groin area and between your thighs. It’s common among athletes and others who sweat a lot.
  • Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis). This is more common among children than adults. It leaves them with an itchy scalp and bald round patches on the head. If left untreated, the patches will get bigger and have small black dots where the hair breaks off.
  • Ringworm on the hands (tinea manuum). This leaves you with dry cracked skin on your palms and ring-shaped patches on the back of your hands.
  • Beard ringworm (tinea barbae). Symptoms include itchy, scaly red spots on the cheeks, chin, and upper neck of men with beards. These may cause hair to fall out and pustules to develop. It’s fairly rare but seen among farmers and ranchers who probably get it from infected animals.
  • Ringworm on the nails (tinea unguium or onychomycosis). Instead of a rash, your nails will thicken, discolor, and start to peel away from the nail bed. The condition is more common on toenails than on fingernails. People who have athlete’s foot may find ringworm affecting their toenails.


How do antifungal medications work?

Antifungal medicines can kill a fungus. Or they may stop it from multiplying or growing. There are several classes of antifungal medications and different types of medicines. Your healthcare provider will select the best prescription medicine. Or they may guide you to an effective over-the-counter (OTC) treatment. Options include:

  • Azoles (fluconazole or Diflucan®), synthetic (human-made) antifungals that keep fungi from growing.
  • Echinocandins (micafungin or Mycamine®), newer semi-synthetic antifungals that attack and damage the fungus wall.
  • Polyenes (nystatin or Bio-Statin®), organic (naturally occurring) antifungal treatments that destroy the fungus cell.

How do you take antifungal medications?

There are OTC and prescription antifungal medicines. Talk to your healthcare provider about what treatment to use.

Antifungals come in different forms, including:

  • Injections (shots) or IV.
  • Oral pills or liquids.
  • Topical (skin) creams, ointments, gels and sprays.
  • Vaginal suppositories.

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