Candida Fungal Infections
From your tongue to your nails, health experts say candida fungal infections can happen anywhere on your body.
Dr. Alfred Gitu, family medicine physician with Lee Memorial Health System, says candida fungal infections have a white coating on the skin or tongue. “It’s a type of a yeast infection, and yeast is a type of fungus. The thing about candida is that most of us carry it. We have it our mouth, we have it our intestines, and we have on our skin.”
Things like antibiotics or weak immune systems can cause the yeast to grow and multiply leading to a fungal infection. “It’s a very, very common thing. It’s very irritating when it happens,” said Dr. Gitu.
Thrush is a candida fungal infection common in babies. It’s caused by too much yeast in the mouth. “Little babies who get thrush on their tongue, it’s the same kind of fungus that causes vaginal infections in women. The tongue looks white like it’s coated in white, almost like when a baby has been drinking milk but it’s a coating that lasts,” said Dr. Gitu.
If the baby is breastfeeding thrush can be spread to the mother’s skin. “Some people can get it on their skin, especially in skin folds that stay moist,” said Dr. Gitu.
Candida infections can also happen in nails. “The nail is thicker, it’s more brittle and it’s discolored,” said Dr. Gitu.
If the infection spreads on the skin it will look like a rash with a white coating on top. It’s often itchy and very uncomfortable. Patients will need an antibiotic to treat it. To prevent the infection, health experts say it’s important to keep the mouth, hands, and fingernails clean, and limit time spent in warm, damp clothing.
View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/
Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.