Who Gets Fungal Infections?

Anyone can get a fungal infection, even people who are otherwise healthy. Fungi are common in the environment, and people breathe in or come in contact with fungal spores every day without getting sick. However, in people with weakened immune systems, these fungi are more likely to cause an infection.

People with weakened immune systems

Opportunistic infections are infections that happen because a person’s immune system is weakened. These illnesses can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Many fungal infections are opportunistic infections.

Fungal infections can also happen in people without weakened immune systems

Fungal infections that are not life-threatening, such as skin, nail, or vaginal yeast infections, are common.

Some infections can be more serious. Lung infections like Valley fever or histoplasmosis can happen in people who live in or visit certain areas.

What weakens an immune system?

Some people are born with a weakened immune system. Others may have an illness that attacks the immune system such as HIV.  Some medicines, like corticosteroids or cancer chemotherapy, can also lower the body’s ability to fight infections.

If you have a weakened immune system, you should be aware that fungal infections can happen. Learning about fungal infections can help you and your doctor recognize them early. This may help prevent serious complications.

Click on the topics below to learn more about how fungal infections affect specific groups of people.