All of us have at some time had a fungal infection of some sort. If it has not been nappy rash as a baby, it would have been ringworm or the dreaded athlete’s foot.
These infections are at their best embarrassing and at their worst chronically irritating. As with all things, when something becomes chronic it might indicate an underlying issue and is worthy of deeper investigation.
What is a fungal infection?
There are millions of species of fungi. They live all around us and on our skin. When our biome, the beneficial bacteria that outnumber our cells ten to one are disturbed, fungal infections can occur.
On the skin they can cause red, swollen, scaly, irritated and itching skin. In areas like skin folds and covered by clothing they are at their happiest. A moist, dark and warm environment provides optimal growth opportunities.
Treating the infection in babies
The basics of regular washing, using clean towels to dry the involved area, clean clothes and breathable shoes are the first steps to ensuring you avoid fungal infection.
When your baby gets nappy rash, keeping the area dry is easier said than done. Creating a barrier between the skin and nappy seems to work most of the time, but letting them lie in the sun for short periods of time without a nappy also helps.
Yet when a baby’s bowel flora is disturbed during teething or after antibiotic use, this is not always so easy to manage. Calendula (marigold) is a must-have in any medicine cabinet. It does not only have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties, but is extremely soothing on the skin. It doesn’t burn on application and the Calendula Plus (Natura) forms a barrier between the skin and moisture.
There is more you can do to help with nappy rash than apply an ointment. Especially during teething, weak chamomile tea — a sip or two with every feed — calms the digestive tract and makes stool less acidic. If you can calm the digestive tract down, the skin takes less of a beating and can recover better.
Over-the-counter homeopathic formulations like Sedaped and Cesranol (Natura), teething, fever and pain 30c (Pegasus) and allergy formula (Vogel) can all be considered.
Herbal treatment like neem oil application, olive leaf extract and chamomile can be considered. Supporting the gastrointestinal tract with a probiotic and a dilution of 5ml apple cider vinegar in 250ml of water (wipe bottom after cleaning it, dry gently and then apply cream) is also worth considering. And of course avoiding alcohol wipes when cleaning the skin is a must.
If you are still breastfeeding, it is worth looking at your diet and stress levels, supporting your gastrointestinal tract and getting some help if possible, to support the quality of your milk.
Treating adult infections
If you battle with athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, besides keeping the area clean and dry, consider supporting your biome.
Reduce stress, do exercise, eat meals with a high concentration of vegetables, decrease alcohol and caffeine intake and reduce trans fat and sugar intake.
Herbally, Pau d’Arco, warburgia, olive leaf extract an golden seal can be considered. An amazing product is Fulvic acid (Bettamed cleanse and recover) with antibacterial, viral and fungal properties.
Essential oils like tea tree, geranium, lemongrass, clove, oregano, myrrh and peppermint are known for their anti-fungal properties. Natura Thuja Lotion (on infected nail beds) and tablets are definitely worth considering.
Adding coconut oil to your diet, which contains caprylic acid and is a natural anti-fungal, as well as adding probiotics or food like sauerkraut and kimchi to your diet will help support the biome and help bring balance.
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