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Fungal Infections: Causes And Prevention

By Mridusmita Das

Fungi are germs that are found to be everywhere; around millions! Amongst the different species of fungi present, few are categorized to be useful while there are also a large number of fungi responsible for infections caused to our bodies; around 300 of those are known to be harmful.

It is easy to be exposed to a fungal infection as fungi can sustain in the air, dust, soil, water, plants, trees, and even in animals. Certain fungi also live naturally in the human body.

fungal infection symptoms

Microscopic fungi present in the environment cause infections. Fungal infections range from mild to grave ones and the symptoms might occur as a skin rash while more serious ones result in flu and serious life-threatening infections. Athlete's Foot, Yeast infection, Nail fungus, Jock itch are some of the common fungal infections, amongst the non-severe ones.

Fungal infections are common and people are prone to it based on the level of the immune system of the body. Though many of the fungal infections are not contagious or deadly, and the common ones are curable through oral medications and external applications of medicines, it is always better to be educated about causes for fungal infections so as to prevent such infections.

Below are the main reasons of fungal infections.

1. A Compromised Immune System
2. Inadequate Nutrition
3. Stress
4. Obesity
5. Physical Contact

1. A Compromised Immune System

People with a weak immune system are more prone to be exposed to a fungal infection. People with diabetes or going through cancer treatments like chemotherapy can easily be invaded by such infections, so as in the case of people suffering from HIV OR AIDS.
Certain medicines that are used to treat few diseases might reduce the immunity level of the body making it more susceptible to such fungal infections. Also, people with a compromised immune system which is caused after an organ transplant are at risk of contracting a fungal infection more easily.

Use of antibiotics can also lead to a weak immune system resulting in a risk of getting exposed to infections easily. Antibiotics destroy many normal bacteria in the body which lets yeast to multiply and cause yeast infection. Pregnant women with a weak immune system are also at risk of exposure to fungal infections.

2. Inadequate Nutrition

While there are many reasons to keep a check on your diet, a nutritious diet is essential to keep your body at a lower risk of being a host to fungal infections. A poor diet might lead to fungal infections invading the body. A proper diet plays a key role in preventing some infections while nutritional deficiencies might lead to a high risk of contracting fungal infections.

3. Stress

Even with a proper diet, still people can be affected by fungal infections. Yes, stress can be a major cause of fungal infections. Higher levels of stress in the body cause an increased release of a hormone called cortisol which further leads to a weak immune system, thus making the body susceptible to infections.

It also increases the sugar levels in the body and causes the growth and multiplication of yeast. Chronic stress impairs the immune levels and exposes the body to yeast infections.

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4. Obesity

You might wonder what could be the relationship between obesity and fungal infections! However, it is a fact that putting on extra flabs might not only affect your physical appearance but also might lead to increased chances of getting a fungal infection. Obese people are likely to be more exposed to infections along with other medical conditions. Due to low immunity and high blood sugar levels obese people are more vulnerable to infections caused by fungi.

5. Physical Contact

Fungal infections can be caused by direct skin contact. The body can also get infected by fungal infections through activities like gardening, digging etc., as fungi are present in air, soil, and dust. Through such activities one is prone to breathe in the fungi easily and thus get affected by it. Also, one can be affected by ringworms through a pet - cat or a dog.

Fungal infections can be prevented by being aware of the causes that might expose your body to be invaded by the germs. A proper diet, checking on stress levels, and keeping your body fit might go a long way in preventing fungal infections to enter your body.

Also, avoiding sources and being aware of physical contact of harmful fungi can be useful to remain unexposed to the germs. Once contracted, identification of the symptoms and proper medications can be helpful in treating and fighting such infections.

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