Fungal diseases

There are only a few types of fungus that cause disease.


There are only a few types of fungus that cause disease. Skin fungi attack the skin, nails and hair. Yeast fungi (mainly candida) live in warm and moist places and can produce a white coating. Mould fungi mainly attack internal organs such as the lungs. Preventive measures include, for example, wearing shoes at swimming pools or saunas.


Main symptoms

Skin and nail fungus

  • Red and moist skin
  • Itching
  • Scaling
  • The circular skin rash grows outward as the infection spreads
  • Toe and/or finger nails thicken and become brittle, peel away or start splitting
    • Nails become yellow, more rarely also brown or green
  • The hair on the head falls out in clumps or develops a rough texture

Candida, thrush

  • Mostly appears in warm and moist skin areas (groin, penis, under breasts, nappy area, mouth, vagina, etc.)
  • Red and weeping skin with scaling
  • Burning and pain
  • A white coating forms on the red mucous membranes of the tongue, cheeks and gums; this coating can be rubbed off
  • Vaginal thrush causes itching , burning and a whitish discharge (non-smelling)
  • Penile thrush causes redness and a whitish coating

Pityriasis versicolor

  • Patches of skin that are light to dark brown, sometimes red, mostly on the chest and back
  • Fine scales
  • UV radiation (sunlight) turns the patches white and they stop scaling

Mould fungus diseases

Causes and treatment


  • Skin fungi (dermatophytes) cause fungal diseases affecting the skin, nails and hair
    • Usually transmitted through direct personal contact (walking barefoot, towels, etc.)
    • Foot fungus is a well-known skin fungus
  • Yeast (candida and thrush are the most common)
    • Lives on the healthy surface of the skin of approx. 70% of the population
    • Immunosuppression, antibiotic use or very moist skin can allow the fungi to multiply
  • Mould fungi
    • Enter buildings when the rooms are being aired
    • Multiply on house dust, carpets, plants, etc.
  • Human-to-human through direct personal contact
  • Genital thrush (candidosis) can be sexually transmitted
  • Mould fungi usually only infect the skin or nails through wounds
  • Items such as combs, pillows, etc.
  • Pets
  • Inhaling (e.g. candida and mould fungi)
Risk factors
  • Moist warmth (e.g. very sweaty feet)
  • Small wounds or tears
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Insufficient or excessive hygiene
  • Immune deficiency

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Examination of skin scales, parts of a nail or hair under a microscope
  • Possibly blood and urine tests, examination of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Lung x-ray (suspicion of fungal lung infection)
  • CT scan (computed tomography) in severe cases
Possible therapies
  • Antifungal medication (tablets, ointments, suppositories, etc.)

What can I do myself?

  • Always wear shoes at the swimming pool and sauna
    • Use the foot disinfection system before and after visiting the pool or sauna
  • Regularly wash socks and stockings at a high temperature Good mouth and dental hygiene
  • Don't wear tight clothes and shoes
  • Avoid excessive intimate hygiene (no sprays, aggressive soaps or disinfectants)

When to see a doctor?

  • New skin changes
    • Redness
    • Scaling
    • Itching
    • White coating
  • Constant coughing but no sign of infection


Fungal diseases, Fungus

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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