Let me just start this post by openly admitting that I have a fungus…growing on me.
I definitely considered not writing about this gross development, but then I thought about the purpose of this blog. I want to keep all you Dear Readers up to date and in the loop on the happenings and events of my Mozambican life. And frankly, who isn’t mildly curious about the exotic infectious diseases and macabre health risks that one might encounter on this dark continent over here.
I looked it up online and WebMd says: “It is quite common in tropical areas that have high temperatures and humidity. More prevalent amongst young adults (do I still count), and on areas of the body that tend to be oily, such as arms, shoulders, back, or neck.”
I’ve got classic textbook Tinea Versicolor if I’ve ever seen it.
The infection effects pigmentation and prevents certain areas of the skin from tanning, causing uneven skin coloring and white spots to show up against tan skin.
Here’s the good news:
- It’s treatable with a fungal cream. I just have to slather it on my arms twice a day.
- It’s not permanent skin discoloration. The yeast will die and the spots will retan, though it might take weeks or months for my arm to look normal again.
I only have discoloration on my right arm and a few spots on my left, so it’s certainly not terrible. It doesn’t itch or hurt – it just looks strange. I also get quite a lot of sun here. Even though I am good about putting on sunscreen, I expose my shoulders to a lot of rays making the spots more visible. The most likely cause of this yeasty-imbalance is my Doxycycline that I take as an antimalarial. Perhaps it’s not the sole reason I got it, but I bet it’s played it’s little part.
So there it is. My big bad infectious secret, announced to the world. As unsightly as it is, certainly I could do worse… say, a Buruli Ulcer or any type of worm. Yep, when considering that this is the worst foreign infection I’ve gotten during my 7 months in Mozambique, I think I’m pretty grateful for my health and curable fungus.