We are used to hearing about bacterial or viral infections, but fungal infections are maybe discussed a bit less commonly. Fungal skin infections are incredibly common, and are caused by coming into contact with fungal spores, such as on wet surfaces, or through excessive growth of naturally occurring fungus that lives on the skin. It is unlikely to go away on its own and if left untreated, can lead to some bothersome symptoms or itch and soreness.
Miconazole is an antifungal medication for skin and mouth infections which comes as a cream, powder, spray and oral gel. Miconazole is also known by the brand name Daktarin. There is also a combination cream that contains miconazole along with a mild steroid (hydrocortisone), known as Daktacort. This should only be used for up to 7 days without input from your doctor.
It is used for the treatment of fungal mouth infections and fungal skin infections, including athlete’s foot, nappy rash and ringworm. Fungi require certain conditions to grow and spread. This includes warmth and moisture. This is why affected areas tend to be between the creases of skin, or in areas that tend to get sweaty.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding or trying for a baby, tell your doctor or midwife before using antifungal creams or oral gels containing miconazole. Most treatments are for oral use (fungal mouth infections) or for skin treatments (cream or powder), but be sure to follow the advice of the individual preparation. Steroid containing products such as Daktacort should not be used in children under 10 years of age and should avoid being used on the face.
Miconazole is effective against a range of different fungi, and works by disrupting the inner workings of the fungus cells. You should start to see an improvement of your symptoms within 7 days, however, it can sometimes take up to 6 weeks to fully clear. Usually, an improvement in your symptoms (itch, soreness) will come before the redness has totally disappeared.
If you want to reduce the chance of catching a fungal skin infection, try not to share clothing, towels, or other personal items and wear foot protection in public areas such as swimming pool changing rooms. Wear clean clothes every day, particularly try and change socks and underwear regularly. Choose breathable loose-fitting clothing and shoes, and make sure to dry off completely after showering, bathing, or swimming.
As with any medications, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include irritation or soreness in the area where the cream is applied.
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