Fungal Infection FAQs

Q: I get athlete's foot every summer. What can I do to prevent this from occurring? A: Fungi thrive in warm, dark and moist environments, so it is best to wear shoes that are porous and "breathe." In addition, allowing air to reach your feet by going barefoot or wearing sandals is helpful. Powders and other drying agents can be used to decrease moisture and spread of the fungus. There are many over-the-counter and prescription therapies available for the treatment of athlete's foot. Finally, if your toenails are affected, they may be re-infecting the skin on your feet. If you suspect fungal infection of your toenails (onychomycosis), you should be seen by your doctor to discuss available treatment.

Q: I have a new kitten and I noticed pink, flaky rings on her skin. My daughter seems to be getting something similar. What should I do? A: It sounds like your kitten has ringworm, which is, in fact, a fungal infection of the skin. This is contagious to humans. Both your daughter and your pet should be evaluated by their doctors and appropriately treated. This may require topical or oral therapy.

Q: Every summer I get white patches on my back and chest when I go in the sun. I have been treated twice already. Why does this recur? A: Tinea versicolor occurs commonly in adolescents and adults. It is a superficial infection with a skin yeast, which produces a substance that tends to bleach the skin. Furthermore, tanning of surrounding areas tend to accentuate the white areas. Sometimes the skin darkens instead. Treatment is available from your dermatologist. Prevention of repeated episodes by twice monthly application of an anti-yeast shampoo is necessary for some patients.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Aug 2000

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015