Fungal Infections | Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases

Fungal Infections

From ringworm to Valley fever, we provide complete care and timely consultation for fungal infections.

Medically reviewed by Daniel Dodson, M.D. on Nov. 06, 2023.

Man sitting on his bed scratching his foot after taking off his athletic shoes.

Leading Expertise in Common and Emerging Fungal Infections

Our experienced infectious disease team provides nationally recognized care and expertise for fungal infections, including publishing guidance used by providers around the world. We offer specialized clinics and expertise that help prevent, diagnose and effectively treat these conditions.

Our Difference

Team-Based Care

Our infectious disease specialists coordinate with other UC Davis Health experts to diagnose and treat fungal diseases. This team approach ensures you receive care for all your symptoms using the latest tests and therapies.

Research and Clinical Trials

For decades, we have been at the forefront of infectious disease care and research. Our work has advanced the development of diagnostic testing for fungal illnesses and provided guidance for providers around the world. We use the expertise to improve the quality of life of people affected by these diseases.

Valley Fever Expertise

Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) is a fungal disease that affects people living in the Southwestern U.S. For more than 50 years, our Coccidioidomycosis Serology Laboratory has been helping people with suspected and confirmed cases of Valley fever. Our infectious diseases team includes world experts on Valley Fever.


What Are Fungal Infections?

Fungi (plural form of the word fungus) are everywhere — including in air, dirt, and even on the surface our bodies.

Most fungi are harmless, but some can make people sick, especially if they have compromised immune systems. Some airborne fungi can cause asthma, allergies, lung infections and more rare infections in other parts of the body. Exposure to other types of fungi can cause skin and nail problems.  

Common Fungal Infections:

Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

Certain fungi can cause a skin infection on the foot called athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot most often appears between your toes as an itchy rash.

Candida Infections

Candida is a type of fungus that lives inside your body. But it can grow out of control in the mouth, throat, esophagus and vagina. When this overgrowth happens, you may develop candidiasis. Candidiasis is also known as thrush or a vaginal yeast infection. Rarely it can cause more serious infections.

Fungal Nail Infections

Microscopic fungi can get into tiny cracks in your fingernails and toenails, causing infections. While fungal nail infections can be unsightly and sometimes painful, most are not dangerous.


Ringworm is an itchy skin rash caused by fungi — not worms. Ringworm can occur anywhere on your skin and often appears as a ring-shaped rash.

Valley Fever

People most often get Valley fever when they breathe in spores from the Coccidioides fungus. This fungus lives in soil. We offer advanced expertise and care in our UC Davis Center for Valley Fever.


Preventing Fungal Infections

Fungi may be everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid fungal infections. Follow these tips to lower your risk.

Five ways to prevent fungal infections:

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Living in or traveling to certain areas can increase your risk for a fungal infection. Protect yourself by avoiding exposure to harmful fungi around you. For example, avoid breathing in dust in areas where the Coccidioides fungus lives.

Keep Your Home Dry

Mold may grow when your home is exposed to excess water, increasing the risk for allergies and asthma. If you experience flooding, quickly dry the affected areas thoroughly. Leave windows and doors open to air out and dry wet spaces.

Know Your Personal Risk

While anyone can get a fungal infection, certain people are more at risk. For example, having a weakened immune system or an underlying health condition, such as asthma, cancer, transplant, or rheumatologic diseases, can increase your risk.

Practice Good Hygiene

Wash your hands and body regularly, being careful to dry wet skin thoroughly. Change into clean, breathable clothing - especially underwear and socks - daily.

Wear Footwear in Public

Avoid going barefoot in public places, especially showers, locker rooms and gyms.

Why Awareness About Fungal Infections Matters

While most fungal infections are mild, some can cause more severe disease. Understanding what fungi live in your environment and your personal risk factors can help protect you from serious illness.

Health care provider examining a patient’s foot between the toes.

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