There’s fungus among us. {3, actually.}

It’s true.  There’s fungus among us.  And by us I mean me.  Three kinds of fungus, to be exact.  Lucky me.

You are probably really grossed out right now.  Don’t worry, I look normal, and it’s really not all that gross.

Fungus and mold are out of control here.   I sneeze constantly all over the island, in our apartment, and on campus.  The humidity here puts the humidity in the South to shame.  Today, for example, the temperature was 91 degrees with 84% humidity.   According to Dominica-Guide.Info (that sounds legit, right?), “Because of its lush vegetation and high elevations, the Commonwealth of Dominica experiences some of the wettest weather in the Caribbean, creating a humid and tropical climate almost year-round.”

So, pretend you live in the beautiful yet insanely humid land of Dominica.  Now, imagine having no car with AC, walking to get your groceries and lugging them half a mile home up a hill.  Awesome. You can imagine how sweaty you get around here.  Then, you walk into your steaming hot apartment that traps heat like an oven.  You turn on the AC (the unit is only in your bedroom) and your bedroom becomes slightly cooler than your boiling hot kitchen/living room.  By slightly cooler, I mean 82 degrees, as opposed to your 88 degree kitchen.  Now imagine 6 months of this nonsense.  Constant sweating.  I mean, constant.  Do you still wish you lived in the Caribbean?

This, friends, is how you develop 3 kinds of skin fungus.  Constant sweat, indoors and out, leaves skin moist and ready for fungus.  I. am. a. PETRI DISH!  Ick.

“Fungus is in the air, in the dirt, in the carpet, on the floor, and on your skin. Fungus loves heat and humidity, so locker rooms, shoes, and other hot, damp places are perfect environments for breeding fungal infections.”  Words of wisdom from  Merci. So… my skin is a locker room? Yes.  My skin is a locker room.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my three skin fungi:

1. Tinea Versicolor.  White spots the size of a pencil eraser on my back and shoulders.  Lovely.

Mine aren't this bad. I only have about 20 spots on my whole back and shoulders.

2.  Mystery fungi.  Not sure what the name of this one is, but I have raised bumps on my shoulders that are skin colored, sort of like mild bacne.  Hot.

3. Dermatophytosis or Ringworm.  On my arm.  It’s not actually a worm, but is called ringworm because it is ring-shaped and is made of little bumps.  (Please heed Wikipedia’s warning: “Ringworm is not to be confused with Roundworm, Pinworm, or Hookworm.”  ACTUAL worms.  No worms here, just fungi!)


Ringworm is a common skin disorder.  The fungi that cause ringworm thrive in warm, moist areas. Ringworm is more likely when you have frequent wetness (such as from sweating).  Bingo.  Pets can also carry ringworm, cats especially, and I’ve had the weird itchy patch for a while now, so I’m thinking it came from those cutie pie little kittens I was playing with daily a couple of months ago.

In this spirit of Carl Parish, my 6th grade science teacher, here’s a ridiculous fungus joke:

Why did the fungus go to the party?

He was a fun-gi.  {fun guy}.

Hardy har har.

So here’s what the doctor ordered: a skin regiment that is the same for all 3 fungi: I apply 1 cream 3 times a day for 2 weeks.  Then, I apply a second cream (the package states that it is for jock itch, athletes foot and ringworm… OMG, so gross, right?!?) 3 times a day for 8 to 12 weeks.  Seriously, 14 weeks of fungus creams 3 times a day?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  I am a science project.

{In case you’re wondering, I’m on week 3.  The bumps are gone, the spots are fading, but the ringworm happens to be thriving.  YIKES.}


UPDATE:  I actually did NOT have ring worm.  NOPE.  It was some strange skin rash called pityriasis rosea that is very mysterious… it is not caused by a bacteria or fungus.  It may be caused by a virus, but they aren’t sure.  It is super itchy and miserable… and weirdly enough, I have now discovered that three friends of mine on the island have also had the same weird rash (2 when they were back home, and 1 on the island a year ago).

{If you like grody pictures, check out my awesome stomach rash, below — I had over 100 of these inflamed, itchy guys all over me.}

Here’s the fleet of “treatments” I was given by the 3 different doctors I saw for my various diagnoses: ringworm, eczema, and finally pityriasis rosea.  There were a few more packs of pills, but those were long gone by the time I got my 3rd and final diagnosis and took this photo.

Now, I’m healed, the pink welts are gone and in their place are scarred white spots all over my body… sweet.  My friends say theirs all went away, but they took a while.  The rash begins with a “herald patch” or “mother patch,” one large spot that starts the whole itch-fest, and apparently that spot takes the longest to disappear.  Here’s a pic of me and my “mother patch” scar…

I’ll obviously be thrilled once the scars disappear, but for now I’m just glad that the itching is gone!


One thought on “There’s fungus among us. {3, actually.}

  1. Thanks for the details – Normally I’d have said, Way too much information! – but on this occasion, just what I needed to read! Your welts look exactly like mine – and seem to be following the same pattern. I live in Ireland now, but I dread to think how much this is gonna love the humidity in Indonesia next month!

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