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Dermatology

Fungal Infections
Fungi are microscopic organisms which multiply on skin and under nails. These organisms are present all around us, especially on shoes and slippers, towels, houses, common showers, steps of swimming pools, public used carpets like hotel and mosque carpets. All fungal diseases are quite contagious and can spread easily. Fungal infections are the most commonly seen dermatological diseases in clinical practice. The main problem caused by fungal infections are that they harm quality of life and cause development of secondary diseases.

Dermatophytes are fungi which cause skin fungal diseases; they can live on tissues such as feet, hair, nail and outer skin. They grow in humid and warm areas. Wearing tight shoes, skin staying damp for long periods, little nail and skin scratches can increase sensitivity to fungal infections.

How are fungal infections noticed?

Fungal disease on feet is characterized by itching and soreness between fingers. Areas infected with fungus are usually white coloured and have a watery appearance. Feet are often sweaty and smelly. Fungal disease on nails usually starts on one or two fingers or toes. The disease then may spread to all nails. In the early phases of the disease, the outer corner of the nail turns yellowish as the healthy pink colour vanishes. As the disease develops, the nail hardens and becomes deformed. The infected tissue weakens and becomes fragile. The nail may loosen and separate from the skin, even fall off.

Points to be considered to prevent fungal infections;

  • It is important to keep the feet clean and dry; using sweaty materials increases the risk of fungal infections.
  • Do not forget that using tight shoes increases the risk of fungal infections
  • Remember that using someone else’s shoes or slippers increases the risk of fungal infections
  • It is important not to walk barefooted on surfaces with abundant fungal spores (bath, kitchen, Turkish bath, swimming pool etc.)
  • Nails must be cut short and straight. Do not forget that areas with impaired skin integrity lay the groundwork for fungal infections.
  • Body cleaning and care must be done regularly
  • Body cleaning and care must be done using with hygienic methods

Herpes Simplex

Herpes virus family has over 100 members and there are two types of Herpes simplex virus. Type 1 usually causes “Oral herpes” cold sores. Type 2 usually causes “Genital herpes”. Both type 1 and Type 2 viruses can infect the mouth area (oral tissue), however 95% of the cases of recurrent cold sores are caused by Type 1 virus’. The effect of this virus is seen with mechanism not exactly known in sunny and cold weather conditions, pyretic diseases and stressful situations. Direct contact with Herpes simplex-infected fluids and areas impaired skin integrity facilitates transmission of this virus. 

Herpes simplex is treated with drugs called anti-virals.

Shingles Disease, (Herpes Zoster) is a skin disease caused by viruses.

Although Herpes Zoster, commonly known as ‘shingles’, is mostly seen in people who previously had chicken pox, in post adolescence period. Although it is mostly seen in people at or over the age of 60, it may also be seen in any group of age. On the body it is mostly seen on the chest and back, followed by neck, face and head, lower back and abdomen, hips and groins.

Shingles disease is caused by viruses very similar to the chickenpox virus, known as Varicella Zoster (shortly VZV) and develops with activation of viruses settled on the roots of neurons. It can remain on the roots of the neurons for many years without causing any symptoms or ilness. When the immune system is compromised, the virus gets active and grows where it is settled, spreads from the neuron roots to the branches and reaches the skin, causing the symptoms.

Factors which decrease the body’s resistance:

  • Stress (Heavy stress)
  • Distress
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Malnutrition or long and unhealthy diets
  • Cancer drugs
  • Radiation therapy
  • After accidents and poisoning
  • AIDS

Symptoms

  • Weakness
  •  Fatigue
  • Fever
  •  Severe pain
  • Discoloration and depression of skin, rash, bumps
  • Headache
  • Scaling of the skin
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