What is tinea?
Tinea is a type of fungal infection that commonly occurs on the feet including the toenails. Fungal infections like warm moist areas which is why they commonly occur on the feet due to the wearing of shoes and socks especially when sweating occurs.
Different symptoms of tinea occur depending on the type and where it is located on the foot.
- Tinea that occurs between the toes usually starts with the outside toes and appears as red peeling and skin with cracks.
- Tinea that occurs around the heel and sole of the foot may be very scaly and flaky.
- Nail fungal infection leads to thick, yellow/brown and sometimes disfigured nails
How to treat tinea
Applying an antifungal cream or gel is the best treatment for most types of tinea. Treatments can also come in a spray or liquid which suit some people.
Terbinafine (Lamisil) is the most effective agent. It also only needs to be applied once a day and usually resolves the infection quicker. Azoles such as clotrimazole (Canesten), bifonazole and miconazole take longer to eliminate the infection and most need to be used 2-3 times daily.
When a fungal infection involves a nail it is best treated with nail lacquer such as amorolfine (Loceryl). As nails are slow to grow it can take 6-12 months for toenail infections to totally go. In some cases oral medication prescribed by your Doctor is needed.
It is time to see your Doctor if there is no sign of skin improvement after 3 weeks of treatment and 3 months if there is no sign of improvement in nail treatment.
How to stop tinea from coming back
It is important to keep feet as dry as possible to prevent tinea from coming back. This includes washing them well with soap and water each day and making sure they are totally dry especially between the toes
Wear cotton or wool socks rather than socks made from synthetic fibres as feet can breathe better in natural fabrics. Airing shoes in the sun as often as is possible and washing them also if possible reduces the risk of fungal infection.
Wear thongs in public showers to prevent infection. Fungal spores that cause infection can stay present in the shower for months after an infected person uses the shower.
Do not share towels or shoes and socks as infection can be passed on in this way.
Oral contraceptives and Hormone Replacement Therapy
It is the oestrogen and oestrogen like hormone medications that the following refer to. Progesterone only OC and HRT do not have these same effects.
Caffeine and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy
As we know caffeine can make us feel jittery and can sometimes cause nausea. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drink and unfortunately chocolate. Hormones can increase the effects of caffeine possibly making us feel more jittery, irritated or nauseous. Limit the intake of caffeine to reduce these side effects.
Energy drinks and appetite suppressants and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy
These drinks and supplements usually contain ingredients such as guarana and bitter orange that cause stimulation. As hormones themselves can be stimulating the same effects can occur as with caffeine mentioned above. Limit the use of these drinks and supplements.
Grapefruit juice and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can increase the levels of certain things in the body and oestradiol is one of them. Oestradiol is a common form of oestrogen found in contraceptives and HRT. Higher levels of oestrogen make side effects such as nausea, leg cramps and blood clots more likely. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be avoided when taking oestrogen containing medications.
Black cohosh, licorice, chasteberry and wild yam and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy
These herbs can interfere with how prescription hormone medicines work because they too affect hormone levels in the body. Only take these in addition to prescribed hormone medicines under professional advice.
In healthy adults having a flu vaccination reduces the risk of contracting the flu (influenza) by 60-70 percent. This is a good reduction.
The flu kills hundreds to thousands of people each year in Australia and is responsible for many thousands of hospitalisations and sick days. More children are killed by the flu than meningococcal.
It is recommended that every well person over the age of 6 months receive the flu vaccination. When healthy individuals are vaccinated this not only protects the person themselves but also those who are very young, elderly or not well enough to be vaccinated.
Many people walk in to pharmacies each year and declare they have the flu and want something to ease their symptoms. Most of these people don’t have the flu but rather the common cold which makes you feel sick but not as sick as the flu and the common cold is not deadly.
Why is the flu vaccination different each year?
Each year, around April, a new flu vaccination is available. From 2018 onwards the flu vaccination contains 4 strains of flu virus (previously 3-4 strain vaccinations were available). The strains are chosen based on intelligent guess work to anticipate which strains are most likely to be encountered that year. The strains are named according to where the strain of flu virus is first discovered eg the Southern Hemisphere strains chosen this year are Michigan, Singapore, Phuket and Brisbane.
The effectiveness of flu vaccinations can start to decrease after 3-4 months and different strains may be more prevalent from year to year. This is why vaccination is required every year.
When should you have a flu vaccination?
As already mentioned the vaccination effectiveness can decrease after 3-4 months. Ideally you should have a flu vaccination two weeks before you may be exposed to the flu for maximum effectiveness. This is impossible to determine! It is generally recommended to be vaccinated from the end of April onwards as peak flu times can occur any time between May and September.
Can you get the flu from the flu vaccination?
No you can’t. The vaccination does not contain live virus so it can not give you flu. The vaccination contains parts of killed virus that makes our immune system think we have been exposed to the flu and so it produces antibodies. Having these antibodies in our bodies means that if we are exposed to the real live virus we are able to fight against it immediately with our already formed antibodies.