How can we prevent fungal skin infections in hot weather?

Intertrigo is a common skin condition characterized by inflammation between opposing skin surfaces. Fungal skin infections (also known as candidiasis) can develop in areas of intertrigo and are more prevalent in warmer climates and in the summertime. 

Candidiasis often develops in skin folds, particularly under breasts, in the underarm area and in the groin area. These areas are prone to increased sweating and tend to be warm and moist, which encourages growth of candida. Moisture in skin folds also leads to maceration and breakdown of the skin, which can become infected with bacteria.

Patients with advanced age, obesity, diabetes, incontinence, immune disorders or immobility are at increased risk to develop candidiasis. Preventative measures and good skin care can minimize the risk of developing candidiasis.

Cleansing the skin with a pH-balanced skin cleanser (not antibacterial soap), careful drying (blotting) after bathing, and routine application of an emollient barrier cream, zinc oxide or talcum powder can help. Avoidance of unnecessary antibiotics also helps protect the skin’s normal bacteria, which normally prevents candida overgrowth. 

People prone to candidiasis may benefit from regular use of an antifungal powder or cream in affected areas. Skin folds can be separated by absorbent cotton fabrics but check regularly to prevent oversaturation. Keeping room temperatures comfortable and ensuring adequate air flow can decrease excessive sweating. Avoidance of tight clothing and synthetic fabrics and frequent incontinence brief changes also help. 

Candidiasis that persists after these preventative measures may need to be treated with an oral antifungal medication. People who have resistant candidiasis may require prolonged treatment.

— Answered by Mary P. Evans