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

Exclusion of liability

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.