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What Is Antifungal Cream?

An antifungal cream may be used to treat athlete's foot.
Many antifungal creams contain the steroid hydrocortisone to help relieve itching.
Infections caused by a fungus, such as ringworm, are often treated with an antifungal creme.
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  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
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Antifungal cream is a topical cream meant to fight off various fungal infections, including thrush, yeast infections, ringworm, and athlete’s foot. These creams works by attacking the fungus itself, while trying to minimize the damage done to the patient. Many different types are available over the counter in the United States, and most have relatively small concentrations of an active ingredient. Some common active ingredients include econazole, tioconazone, clotrimazone, and miconazole. Often, a medication will include hydrocortisone as well, which isn’t an antifungal but does help to relieve itching caused by the infection.

Fungal cells are quite similar in some ways to mammalian cells, which means that many treatments do have some side effects, as the cream damages both the fungus and the human skin. The side effects of antifungals are typically rather minor, however, and especially with low-strength creams, they are unlikely to cause serious problems.

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Because there are so many different fungal infections, and because there are so many different types of antifungal cream, there is no common way to use this product. Usually, a small amount will be applied to the affected area. It may be left on for a brief time and then washed off, or it may be left on for an extended period of time until it wears off on its own. Some creams may also be intended for internal application, as is the case with creams used to treat yeast infections. People should always make sure to follow the instructions for the specific product and not use more or less of the medication than is recommended.

Because fungus is contagious, it’s also a good idea for individuals to take care when applying the cream not to contaminate the tube itself. People should wear gloves or use tissue to make sure that, when they rub the cream on the affected area, they do not then touch anything else before washing their hands. If applying a cream to another person, the individual should make especially sure to clean his or her hands thoroughly.

In some cases, an over-the-counter antifungal cream may not be strong enough to clear up a particularly severe fungal infection. If this is the case, the individual should go see a healthcare professional so that he or she can prescribe a more robust treatment. In most cases, this will not be a cream or other topical medication, but some sort of stronger antifungal agent meant to be taken orally to fight the systemic infection from the inside out.

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anon312690
Post 4

The best topical antifungal cream that I've found for toenails is Tineacide. I've been using it for a few months and my nails have been slowly but surely clearing up. I've recommended it to a few of my friends as well and they all seem to like it.

galen84basc
Post 3

Which one is better, Clotrimazole antifungal cream or Ting antifungal cream? My son has athlete's foot, and I don't know which one to get him.

Does anybody know?

naturesgurl3
Post 2

Can you use OTC antifungal topical creams on children? I work in a gym where a lot of kids come, and one mother told me that her son had gotten athletes foot in our locker room.

She asked me what the best antifungal skin cream was for kids, and I had absolutely no idea.

I ended up telling her that she might try that Baza antifungal cream, since that's what my boyfriend uses, but I really had no idea what to tell her.

Is it ok for kids to use OTC antifungal creams, or are they too strong for them?

StreamFinder
Post 1

Would it be possible to use a vaginal antifungal cream during pregnancy? I have a friend who is about three months along, and she told me that she's started getting the worst yeast infections, but she's afraid to use even an OTC antifungal cream because she's pregnant.

Does that even make a difference, or is she right, are you not supposed to use topical antifungal creams during pregnancy?

I had never heard anything either way, so I was just curious.

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