If the skin on the hands dries and cracks, and the nails become yellowish, then there is a high probability of the presence of a fungal infection in the body. In most cases, the fungus on the hands is diagnosed at the initial stage, since the itching and pain sensations force the patient to immediately seek medical help. Most often affects children and the elderly. Lesions may be located on the fingers, palms and nails. Of great importance is the accurate diagnosis, as eczema at the initial stage has similar symptoms. That is why microscopic examination and bacterial seeding may be required to determine the culture of the fungus.
Causes of Appearance
The fungus on the hands is much less common than on the feet or in the groin area. Most often, the infection is transmitted from the legs in the presence of mycosis of the feet. In 20% of cases, due to improper foot care, spores can spread to the fingers, palms and nails.
Fungi enter the human body in the following ways:
And only deep mycoses are introduced through injuries, abrasions, bruises or surgical interventions. Hands are no exception – even the slightest microtrauma can be the entrance gate for the entry of a fungal infection. Usually this also contributes to:
- insufficient or inadequate nutrition;
- diseases of the blood system;
- malignant tumors;
- long-term use of antibiotics;
- hormonal disorders;
- immunodeficiency states;
The source of infection can be not only an infected person or animal, but also the environment. Infection most often occurs:
- with a variety of items in medical institutions;
- in child care facilities;
- in the barracks;
- from plants;
- from rotting parts of wooden buildings;
- in the baths;
- public showers;
- nail salons.
Even the usual handshake can lead to the development of a fungus on the fingers, provided there is a favorable background for the introduction and reproduction of spores in the skin.
Every second person suffering from hyperhidrosis of the palms is diagnosed with a hand fungus, since excessive sweating creates ideal conditions for the development of fungal infections.
The First Signs or How to Recognize the Initial Stage?
Unfortunately, in almost all cases, the fungus on the hands at the initial stage is masked under the guise of hyperkeratosis or avitaminosis. The main symptoms are as follows:
- dryness and flaking on the palms;
- crusts, scales, pennaceous peeling on the folds of the fingers and palms;
- the appearance of wounds between the fingers;
- changing the color of the nail plate;
- redness in lesions;
- itching of varying intensity.
In rare cases, there may be an unpleasant smell emanating from the palms (this is due to increased sweating and the characteristic chemical composition of sweat).
On the hands, as well as on other parts of the body, a fungal infection can be caused by a variety of pathogens. The most commonly diagnosed dermatophytes and yeast, less mold. In medicine, they can be found under the following names:
- Onychomycosis. In about 20-30% of cases, onychomycosis affects the nail plate brushes. The characteristic difference is the change in color, shape and thickness of the nail plate. The initial process begins with the appearance of white and yellow specks in the thickness of the nail. In the future, it can be observed thinning and partial or complete destruction. In advanced cases, the color of the nail plate becomes dark blue or black, it can separate from the bed. Interestingly, the surface of the affected nail can remain smooth for a long time without any deformation. Depending on the pathogen, the number of affected fingers may vary. For example, nail rubromycosis is characterized by a lesion of all the fingers at once, and Candida fungi are easily recognized by the characteristic whitish bloom on the edges of the nail roll, brown color, stripes and depressions.
- Dermatomycosis. Here we are talking about fungi of the genus Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes, which are the causative agent of rubromycosis. A distinctive feature is the localization of lesions on the palms and fingers. The presence of pendulous peeling, wounds and soak in the interdigital folds on the hands. In two cases out of ten, the hands are affected along with the feet.
- Candida Mycosis. The most common fungus in the hands of the elderly and children. Congenital immunity is absent. Characteristic differences – weeping lesions that occur most often between the fingers. On the palms, it may appear as small cracks and erythematous-scaly spots with characteristic whitish layers. In 40% of cases, the rash is not limited to the hands and can be localized in the inguinal folds and under the mammary glands.
There is also a persistent claim that people whose professions are associated with a prolonged stay of brushes under the influence of humidity (cleaners, dishwashers, pool workers, etc.) are most often affected by the candida fungus. Over time, the skin protective layer is washed off and the risk of fungal and other infections increases many times.
Treatment and Prevention
Any therapeutic measures begin with an accurate diagnosis, determination of the pathogen and the stage of the fungal infection. To do this, the doctor will need to conduct an inspection of the clinical picture, take scrapings of scales and crusts from the lesions, conduct a microscopic examination and bacterial seeding (if necessary). Differential diagnostics is performed with eczema and psoriasis, which at the initial stage is characterized by peeling, the formation of scales and floury peeling on the fingers and in the interdigital folds.
Photo of Fungus on Hands
Dermatophyte fungus on the hands is most often treated with:
- Griseofulvin – a systemic drug, most often used in pediatric practice;
- Lamisil – today the drug of choice by many doctors in the treatment of ringworms;
- Ketoconazol – at the initial stage is usually administered as an ointment, in advanced cases in the form of capsules;
- Fluconazol is the active ingredient of Diflucan and Flucostat, which are considered effective systemic antifungal agents.
The duration of treatment, dosage and selection of the most effective means will be closely associated with the location, stage and prevalence of infection. Most onychomycosis of the nails are treated for 6 to 12 months, mycosis of the feet and palms in some cases does not go away for several years.
Mycosis on the fingers caused by yeast-like fungi is most often treated with:
- Clotrimazol as an ointment (2 times a day for 2-3 weeks);
- Exoderil in the form of a cream (2 times a day for 2 weeks);
- Ketoconazol externally for small lesions, systemically in advanced cases;
- Lamisil – (2 times a day for 3 weeks);
- Lamicon – (2 times a day for 3 weeks);
- Mycospor – (2 times a day during the month).
Excellent in the fight against Candida fungi have recommended drugs based on Fluconazol (Diflucan, Flucostat, Diflazon and Mikomax). Most often, they are used as an adjunct to external agents in combination therapy.
It is also important to remember that the fungus on the hands caused by ringworms is highly contagious and can be transmitted to a person who is in close bodily contact with the patient. But candidomycosis opposite – can not be transmitted, if we are talking about the defeat of the palms and fingernails.
Prevention of all types of mycoses implies:
- personal hygiene;
- increase immunity;
- minimizing contact of the skin of the hands with provoking factors;
- treatment of associated diseases (hyperhidrosis).
Also, if possible, do not wear someone else’s gloves and do not use someone else’s manicure accessories (at least without prior disinfection).