Massage & Bodywork

JULY | AUGUST 2019

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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 37 CDC List of Fungal Infections • Aspergillosis • Blastomycosis • Candida auris • Candidiasis • Cryptococcus gattii • Cryptococcus neoformans • Dermatophytosis (e.g., ringworm) • Mucormycosis • Mycetoma • Onychomycosis • Pneumocystis jirovecii • Sporotrichosis • Talaromycosis • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) lead to the formation of aspergillomas— literally, "fungus balls" that damage tissue in the lungs, interfere with respiration, and make the patient vulnerable to any number of dangerous secondary infections. Candidiasis Candidiasis is the overgrowth of one of 20 species of candida; the most common by far is Candida albicans. These microorganisms are found in the digestive, urinary, and genital tracts of men and women. Under normal circumstances, C. albicans does not disrupt digestive function, but if the gut microbiome—including its mycobiome—is disturbed, then candida can become more active. When the imbalance occurs in the mouth or throat, it causes white patches called thrush. If the overgrowth of yeast occurs in a woman's genital tract, then she may develop a vaginal yeast infection. (Men can develop candidiasis in their urethras, where it is often symptom-free, but communicable.) Candidiasis can cause skin irritation too, with rashes, blistering, and tissue exudate. In advanced cases, the patient may be at risk for candidemia: the pathogenic microorganisms gain access to the bloodstream, and from there they travel to the heart, brain, eyes, and other tissues. This situation is similar to sepsis. It is a system-wide infection that can be life-threatening. Dermatophytosis Dermatophytosis describes infections of the skin that may involve a variety of species of fungus. The signature lesion is called tinea: this comes from the Latin term for worm, and gives rise to the common name for this condition, "ringworm." I am happy to report that there are no actual worms in ringworm; it's just that people thought it looked like a circular worm was burrowing in the skin. A typical case of ringworm shows a slightly raised, scaly circle on the skin that is pale in the middle (Image 1). Image 1 shows roughly where the infection began and where the fungi consumed available nutrients, then spread out looking for new territory. Interestingly, this is essentially how mushrooms often grow in the wild: they start with a central clump, and a circle of them grows outward from the middle. Ringworm is potentially contagious. People can catch it from other mammals (cats, dogs, and horses are frequent carriers) or from each other, or they can spread it from one area of the body to another. It can also be spread through indirect contact: hairbrushes, towels, or shower room floors can help the fungi move from one host to another. That said, it is seldom a serious or threatening condition, unless a person is immune-compromised in some way. Most healthy people can be exposed to these fungi and never develop any lesions at all. There are several subtypes of cutaneous fungal infections and, because we work so closely with the skin, it is important for massage therapists and bodywork practitioners to be familiar with them. Tinea corporis (body ringworm). This is the development of the raised, slightly itchy scaly circles on the skin that widen as the fungi spread out in search of new nutrients. It can develop on the trunk or extremities. Tinea corporis (or body ringworm). A raised, scaly ring that is paler in the middle. 1

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