Good Or Bad?
Fungus Is A Single-Celled Or Multicellular Organism
- The Bad: Fungi can be true pathogens (such as histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis) that cause infections in healthy persons or they can be opportunistic pathogens (such as aspergillosis, candidiasis, and cryptococcosis) that cause infections in immunocompromised persons (including cancer patients, transplant recipients, and persons with AIDS). An example of a common fungus is the yeast organism which causes thrushand diaper rash (diaper dermatitis).
- The Good: Fungi are also used for the development of antibiotics, antitoxins, and other drugs used to control vaccines.
Who Gets Fungal Infections?
Fungal infections can also happen in people without weak immune systems. Fungal infections that are not life-threatening, such as skin, nail, or vaginal yeast infections, are common. Some infections can be more serious. Lung infections like Valley Fever or histoplasmosis can happen in people who live in or visit certain areas.
You are at risk of getting Valley Fever if you spend time in an area where Coccidioides fungi are endemic (commonly found). Your risk is increased if you are in an endemic area when the soil is disturbed by weather or human activities such as landscaping or construction. This causes the release of fungus spores into the air, where they are easily inhaled.
CoccidioidesImmitis is a pathogenic fungus that resides in the soil in certain parts of the southwestern United States, northern Mexico, and a few other areas in the Western Hemisphere.
Anyone can get a fungal infection, even people who are otherwise healthy. Fungi are common in the environment, and people breathe in or come in contact with fungal spores every day without getting sick. However, in people with weak immune systems, these fungi are more likely to cause an infection.
People With Weak Immune Systems
Infections that happen because a person’s immune system is weak are called opportunistic infections. These illnesses can be caused bybacteria, viruses, or fungi. Many fungal infections are opportunistic infections within various human diseases.
Types Of Fungal Diseases
Fungi are everywhere. There are approximately 1.5 million different species of fungi on Earth, but only about 300 of those are known to make people sick.1,2 Fungal diseases are often caused by fungi that are common in the environment. Fungi live outdoors in soil and on plants and trees as well as on many indoor surfaces and on human skin. Most fungi are not dangerous, but some types can be harmful to health.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection?
Signs of yeast infection in skin folds include:
- Patches that ooze clear fluid
- Pimple-like bumps
- Itching or burning
Signs of yeast infection in the nail beds include:
- White or yellow nail that separates from the nail bed
In most cases, fungal infections are treatable in generally healthy people. However, these infections are more likely to occur and can be more difficult to treat in people with weakened immune systems due to such conditions as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, organ transplantation, or taking steroid medications or chemotherapy. In these cases, complications of fungal infections may become life threatening. Recurring fungal infections can also be a symptom of a serious, undiagnosed, underlying disease, such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes. Seek prompt medical care for recurring fungal infections including vaginal yeast infections.