Hand Fungus

by Sam Malone

Fungi are a type of microorganisms that have a wide range of types and occurrences. Till date, about 100,000 different species of fungi have been identified. While fungi are used extensively in the food and drug industry, they also cause many serious diseases in human beings. Some of the different fungal infections in human beings are listed below.
  • Aspergillosis (a bronchopulmonary allergic reaction caused by the fungus aspergillus)
  • Candidoses (thrush caused by the yeast candida albicans)
  • Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever or desert rheumatism caused by the fungus coccidioides)
  • Cryptococcosis (fatal fungal infection seen in immunodeficient conditions such as AIDS)
  • Histoplasmosis (a fungal lung disease, also known as Darling’s disease or cave disease)
  • Eumycetoma (fungal infection that affects the foot, also known as Madura foot)
  • Paracoccidioidomycosis (fungal systemic infection that affects the lymph nodes and the mucous membranes, lungs and bones)
  • Dermatophytosis or ringworm (fungal infection of the skin)
In this article, we will discuss hand fungus, the causes for fungus on hands, and what your home remedy options are.

What is hand fungus?

Different fungus affects different parts of the body. Hand fungus is caused by the genus dermatophytes. These dermatophytes affect the skin and are commonly referred to as ringworm.

Causes

There are many different dermatophytes, and each of them affects a particular part of the body. However, there are only three types of hand fungal infections. Let’s take a look at these in detail.
Fungus of the hands (tinea manuum): Tinea mannum is the fungus that affects the hands and the palms. Commonly, it is seen on the fingers. Some of the symptoms of this kind of infection are as follows.
  • Scaly or crackling skin
  • Itching and burning of the infected area
  • Inflammation
Ringworm of the nail (rinea unguium): Tinea unguium is a dermatophyte that affects the nails. While infected toe nails are most common, it does sometimes affect fingernails as well. This ringworm of the nail is medically known as onychomycosis. Symptoms of this type of infection are listed below.
  • Thickened and discolored nails (yellow, green or black)
  • Nail breaking off
  • Inflammation around the infected nail
  • Scaly skin surrounding the infected nail
Tinea nigera: Tinea nigera causes superficial phaeohyphomycosis. This fungal infection is not caused by a dermatophyte, rather by another type of fungus called hortaea werneckii. Symptoms of tinea nigera are as follows.
  • Dark brown or black patches on the palms of the hand or soles of the feet
  • Patches are usually painless

Home remedies

More often than not, doctors prescribe antifungal creams and medications to treat fungus. However, many patients have found that alternative remedies such as simple home remedies work very effectively in treating hand fungus. Some home remedies that are believed to treat hand fungus are listed below.
  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is believed to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which is the reason it is used to treat hand fungus. Soaking your hands in a tub containing a few drops of tea tree oil is said to help relieve discomfort associated with hand fungus.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Soaking your hands in a hydrogen peroxide is believed to kill fungus effectively. The only side effect is that this dries out the hands considerably. A good moisturizer needs to be used after treatment with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Vinegar (plain white or apple cider vinegar): Some believe that soaking the infected hands in apple cider vinegar helps control the fungal infection. It is a popular belief that plain white vinegar is just as effective.
  • B complex vitamins: Vitamins are the key to good skin health, and vitamin B complex is known to be good for a healthy skin. For this reason, many people believe that taking vitamin B supplements or eating a diet rich in vitamin B will help prevent and manage fungal infections.
  • Cat’s claw: Consuming 20mg of Cat’s claw 3 times a day is said to be effective against hand fungus as it has antifungal properties. However, due to its interaction with other drugs, one must first check with a doctor before taking this.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics such as lactobacillus helps to maintain a balance of skin flora, resulting in reduced infections.
  • Fish oil: Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the inflammation caused because of fungal infections on the hands. Either eating supplements or including a fish rich diet can do the trick.
  • Grapefruit seed extract: Grapefruit seed extract is another popular treatment for hand fungus. This is because grapefruit has antifungal and immunity-building properties, which help manage hand fungus.
  • Sulfur: In many homeopathic medications, sulfur is used as a treatment for fungal infections. Most fungal creams also contain sulfur to help treat fungal infections of the hands.
Other anti-fungal home remedies include drinking green tea and soaking hands in a mouth wash. One of the reasons to soak pealing hands in bleach water is to treat hand fungus.

Tips for managing hand fungus

  • Completely dry out the hand after use of home remedies and washing.
  • Do not share nail clippers and manicure sets.
  • Wear gloves to avoid spread of the disease.
While a lot of these home remedies have been used for years, their effectiveness is not a proven fact. If you have a fungal infection, it is best to seek help from a dermatologist first.

References:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000877.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001439.htm
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/nail-disorders-000116.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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