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Fungal infection

Category: Illnesses and disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and moulds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, separate from plants, animals, and bacteria. One major differentiator is that fungal cells have walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose, and unlike the cell walls of bacteria. Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures. Fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange.  There are fungi living in our Intestines which have a role in breaking down our food to extract nutrients.  They have also long been used as a direct source of food, such as mushrooms and truffles, as a leavening agent for bread, and in fermentation of various food products, such as wine, beer, and soy sauce.

But they can become either an irritating nuisance or a serious pathogen when they attack us.

There are an estimated 1.5 million to 5 million species, and only about 5% of these having been formally classified, which means that there may be fungi attacking us at this very moment of which we are still not aware.  They may be causing diseases without us realising it.

We are only just beginning to discover the enormous role that bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites and heavy metals play in disease.  The next big area of exploration may well be fungus [the Big Six].

Although spiritual experiences are caused by the diseases and illnesses fungi create, these are covered in the sections on these diseases.  But there is an interesting area which results from the use of Anti-fungals - Fungal Infection treatments - where a considerable number of hallucinations have resulted from their use.  So if the fungus doesn't get you, the pharmaceutical will.

Examples

The correct medical name for a fungal infection in human beings is Mycosis.  Examples of funguses that can cause major illnesses and diseases include the following:

  • Aspergillus  - are a species of moulds and fungus which are found in almost all oxygen-rich environments, where they commonly grow as moulds on the surface of a substrate. Aspergillus species are common contaminants of starchy foods (such as bread and potatoes).  Aspergillus are also capable of growing in nutrient-depleted environments, or environments in which there is a complete lack of key nutrients. A. niger is a prime example of this; it can be found growing on damp walls, as a major component of mildew.  More than 60 Aspergillus species are medically relevant pathogens. For humans there is a range of diseases such as infection to the external ear, skin lesions, and ulcers classed as mycetomas.  They also cause respiratory diseases
  • Blastomyces dermatitidis -  is the causal agent of blastomycosis, a potentially very serious disease that typically begins with a characteristically subtle pneumonia-like infection that may progress, after 1–6 months, to a disseminated phase that causes lesions to form in capillary beds throughout the body, most notably the skin, internal organs, central nervous system and bone marrow. The fungus lives in soil and wet, decaying wood, often in an area close to a waterway such as a lake, river or stream.  Indoor growth may also occur.  The fungus is endemic to parts of eastern North America, it occurs rarely in Africa both north and south of the Sahara desert, as well as in the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent.
  • Candida  - is a genus of yeasts and is currently the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide. Many species are harmless, however, when mucosal barriers are disrupted or the immune system is compromised they can invade and cause disease. Candida albicans is currently the most commonly isolated species, and can cause infections (candidiasis or thrush) in humans and other animals. Antibiotics promote yeast infections, including gastrointestinal Candida overgrowth, and penetration of the GI mucosa. Prolonged antibiotic use increases the risk for both men and women. C. albicans thrives in warm damp places and survives on sugars – it ferments glucose and maltose to acid and gas, and sucrose to acid.
  • Claviceps - The Ergot or ergot fungi, refers to a group of fungi of the genus Claviceps  that grows on rye and related plants.  It contains alkaloids that can cause ergotism in humans and other mammals who consume grains contaminated with its fruiting structure.  Claviceps includes about 50 known species, mostly in the tropical regions.
  • C. purpurea  - is parasitic on grasses and cereals; for example rye (its most common host), as well as triticale,  wheat and barley. It affects oats only rarely
  • C. fusiformis  - is found on pearl millet and  buffel grass
  • C. paspali is found on  dallis grass
  • C. africana is found on  sorghum

The ergot  fungus replaces the kernels of the fruit with small black masses of mycelium. It produces ergotamine, a potent vasoconstrictor – the ergot alkaloids affect the vascular system constricting blood vessels.  In  the Middle Ages, controlled doses of ergot were used to induce abortions and to stop maternal bleeding after childbirth.  The illness it produces is more commonly known as St Anthony's Fire

  • Coccidioides is the cause of Coccidioidomycosis, also known as San Joaquin Valley Fever, an infectious fungal disease largely confined to the Western Hemisphere and endemic in the Southwestern United States. The host acquires the disease via respiratory inhalation of spores disseminated in their natural habitat. The causative agents of coccidioidomycosis are Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii.
  • Cryptococcus - There are about 37 recognized species of Cryptococcus, but the taxonomy of the group is currently being re-evaluated. The majority of species live in the soil and are not harmful to humans. Very common species include Cryptococcus laurentii and Cryptococcus albidus. Of all species, Cryptococcus neoformans is the major human and animal pathogen. However, Cryptococcus laurentii and Cryptococcus albidus have been known to occasionally cause moderate-to-severe disease.  The main disease caused is a severe form of meningitis.
  • Fusarium is a large genus of fungi widely distributed in soil and in association with plants. Most species are harmless and are relatively abundant members of the soil microbial community. But some species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human health if they enter the food chain.  They can cause infections in the nails (onychomycosis) and in the cornea (keratomycosis or mycotic keratitis). In humans whose immune systems are compromised, aggressive fusarial infections can penetrate the entire body and bloodstream.  Disseminated infections may be caused by members of the Fusarium solani complex, Fusarium oxysporum,  Fusarium verticillioides,  Fusarium proliferatum and, rarely, other fusarial species
  • Histoplasma is a genus of dimorphic fungi commonly found in bird and bat fecal material.  Histoplasma contains a few species, including—H. capsulatum—the causative agent of histoplasmosis.  Histoplasmosis is also known as "Cave disease," "Darling's disease,", "Ohio valley disease,", "Reticuloendotheliosis,", "Spelunker’s Lung" and "Caver's disease".  Symptoms of this infection vary greatly, but the disease affects primarily the lungs.   Occasionally, other organs are affected; this is called disseminated histoplasmosis, and it can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Tinea versicolor - is a fungus infection that commonly affects the skin of young people, especially the chest, back, and upper arms and legs. Tinea versicolor is caused by a fungus that lives in the skin of some adults. It does not usually affect the face. This fungus produces spots that are either lighter than the skin or a reddish-brown. This fungus exists in two forms, one of them causing visible spots. Factors that can cause the fungus to become more visible include high humidity, as well as immune or hormone abnormalities. However, almost all people with this very common condition are healthy.
  •  Microsporum, Trichophyton  and Epidermophyton fungi,  - which together comprise 41 species cause yet more skin diseases given the name “Cutaneous mycoses”.  These infections occur  deeper into the epidermis, and also include invasive hair and nail diseases. Unlike the superficial mycoses, host immune responses may be evoked resulting in pathologic changes expressed in the deeper layers of the skin. The resulting diseases are often called ringworm (even though there is no worm involved) or tinea.  The wonderfully named  Jock itch, Tinea cruris, is in this class.  One common disease is athlete's foot
  • Scedosporium prolificans is an emerging opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes a wide variety of infections in immunocompetent and immunosuppressed people.  Originally named Lomentospora prolificans in 1974, it was transferred to the genus Scedosporium in 1991  It is resistant to most antifungal drugs and infections are often fatal.

Causes

Pharmaceuticals - quite a number of pharmaceuticals are implicated in the development of fungal infections, some examples are shown below - this list is not exhaustive but illustrative

  •  Antibiotics - People are at risk of fungal infections when they are taking strong antibiotics for a long period of time because antibiotics kill not only damaging bacteria, but healthy bacteria as well. This alters the balance of microorganisms in the mouth, vagina, intestines and other places in the body, and results in an overgrowth of fungus.
  • Immunosuppressants – anyone on immunosuppressants, for example, those who have had transplant operations are also at risk.  By the same token, Individuals with weakened immune systems are also at risk of developing fungal infections. This is the case of people with HIV/AID
  • Antacids and heartburn treatments - including proton pump inhibitors
  • Chemotherapy drugs - which weakens the individual anyway
  • Statins
  • Osteoporosis treatments

 Nutritional deprivation - a diet that is too high in sugars is particularly problematic, as fungi like sugars to feed on.  In much the same way a diet high in carbohydrates also has the same effect.  This is why people with diabetes often get fungal infections as well, their glucose is out of balance leading to the chance for the fungus to have a wonderful feast.  Cutting out the carbs and the sugars may thus help.  Mineral imbalance and particulalry zinc deficiency may also play a part as without adequate supplies of zinc, the immune system cannot operate well

Sick buildings - in effect buildings whether houses or offices, factories or function rooms that are badly ventilated, poorly cleaned and which are able to harbour fungi as a consequence.  To this we must also add all those communla buildings which are by their nature damp and warm - such as swimming pools and gyms.  There is a particular risk of picking up fungal infections from both these places, the shower rooms, for example, are a paradise for fungus.

Accidental Inhalation - as a sort of extension of the sick building category, many fungal infections are caused directly by inhalation of the spores of the fungi.  A badly ventilated humid building can be one source, but anywhere that fungi are growing and fruiting is a risky place.
"Systemic mycoses due to primary pathogens originate primarily in the lungs and may spread to many organ systems. Organisms that cause systemic mycoses are inherently virulent. In general primary pathogens that cause systemic mycoses are dimorphic".

Surgery and physical trauma - to quote "Subcutaneous mycoses involve the dermis, subcutaneous tissues, muscle and fascia. These infections are chronic and can be initiated by piercing trauma to the skin which allows the fungi to enter. These infections are difficult to treat and may require surgical interventions such as debridement".

Spoilt food - whether it is bread or the wheat from which bread is made, mouldy jam, mouldy fruit, and so on.  If we eat bad food, we are ingesting fungus.  I had a rather silly friend who used to scrape the mould off jam, cut the bad bits out of bread and generally behave in a rash manner.  She joked about needing the penicillin.  She was ill quite a lot.  You can't see where the mould is growing, it may be visible on the surface but invisible underneath.  Throw bad food away.

Blood circulatory diseases – if the blood supply cannot get to the limbs and areas under attack, the immune system is unable to fight the fungus. Nail fungus tends to affect men more often than women, for example, possibly because they suffer more frequently from circulatory problems.

Inappropriate shoes and clothes – if the skin can ‘breathe’ and perspiration can evaporate easily and leave the skin dry then the fungus has no environment on which to thrive.  Fungi like damp places, as such wearing socks and shoes, or clothes that hinder ventilation and do not let perspiration wick away, for example, makes things worse.  Use natural fibres.  Big cotton knickers work wonders [and they can be quite sexy in a slightly off the wall way...].

Treatment

Symptom based - The symptom based approach used ati-fungals, you can read about them in the section Fungal infection treatments.

Cause based - The cause based approach is to find out what got you and correct this.    See also Healing yourself

I will also add a bit of cause based advice from my Mum.  Where do fungi grow?  Damp, dark , warm to cool places.  So what is the solution?

What is our best protection?  Our immune system.  So how do we help the immune system?

  • Gentle Exercise - to help the blood flow round our veins and take the killer T cells to do their stuff
  • Good food - see Eating for health.  The use of zinc to help the immune system also sometimes helps.  Eat foods with zinc in them.

Finally, wash between your toes, dry yourself thoroughly after a shower, dry your hair on highish heat, wash with water only [no fancy soap or shower gels] to make sure your skin keeps its protective acidic layer  - at least that's what my Mum used to say and who am I to contradict my Mum - who incidentally lived till she was 83 and was hardly ever ill, with only an occasional headache from us.  [Dementia got her in the end from being given iron tablets when all she needed was a decent meal, but that's another story].

I have added a useful article that came from a forum of fungal infections to the Science section entitled Acid or Alkali.

How it works

Physically

The way the fungi work to give you a spiritual experience depends largely on which disease or illness results.

Logically/functionally

You need to have the Model of the Mind open and have read How spiritual experience works.

Any substance that enters our bodies is assessed for whether it is a help or a threat.  When any substance enters via whatever route – by mouth, by wounds, by injection, by inhalation, by smoking or snuffing or smearing on our skin as an ointment and thus absorption via the skin, the body’s defence mechanism checks to see what it is and whether it is friend or foe.

At too high a level, at levels where cell destruction can take place and the body itself is at risk, the cells send out a message to the Will via the nervous system which says HELP HELP HELP THREAT THREAT THREAT we are being attacked we are dying DO SOMETHING.

The Will responds by mobilising its defence systems – immune system, the system of the kidneys and liver which act as filters, the stomach with the acid, the blood filtering system and so on.  But at overdose levels the defence systems may be overwhelmed and the messages keep on coming in.

HELP, HELP, HELP, THREAT, THREAT, THREAT, we are being attacked, we are dying DO SOMETHING.

The Will can do no more from a defensive point of view, but it is able to release messages which help to ease the pain and this it does.  Thus we get endorphins, for example, being released, which give pain relief and start to shut down functions we no longer have need of because the energy is better targeted to survival. 

The presence of all these neurotransmitters is a sure sign of overdose.  We don’t get a spiritual experience via neurotransmitters – neurotransmitters like these are just indicators that the body is trying to ease the pain and suffering from the damage it is experiencing.

At this point we might start to get hallucinations as the non essential functions of Memory and Learning are gradually shut down.

But if the overdose is severe and the messages continue HELP, HELP, HELP, THREAT, THREAT, THREAT, we are being attacked, we are dying DO SOMETHING. the Will takes some very drastic action and mobilises all its energy and defenses into the autonomic system.

Now comes some serious activity when we can go out of body, because the Reasoning system Memory and Learning system have all been shut down and we are in effect on automatic pilot – we have gone AWOL.

Unless the autonomic systems can handle the threat, from this point on we are dying.

Death is thus the termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism and death by severe fungal infection can produce some very profound experiences, simply because function elimination is so very complete.

At the stage where death is inevitable what is going on is a form of controlled shut down of practically all the functions of the mind. 

The function of the ‘will’ continues to manage the autonomic systems, but consciousness may be transferred from the Personality to the Higher spirit.  The person is actually perceiving as the spirit from that point on. 

The perception function and the perceptions go with the Higher Spirit, but all functions relating to the body are gradually shut down in a controlled way by the Will.  The last function to be extinguished is the will itself and the will does not extinguish itself until metaphorically speaking the cord has been cut – the person has crossed the bridge or the stream or whatever is metaphorically shown as the divide between life and death.

Once the cord has been cut, the function of will shuts itself off.  And you die.

As the perceptions go with the Higher Spirit, the Spirit takes over the process that was formerly the will, the software that controls 'seeing' and 'hearing' have no need to go with the composer because within the spiritual world perception is pure perception unfettered by the software needed to process the input from the 5  senses

Human emotions stay behind and cease, but the divine emotions suddenly become apparent to the person – they experience – perhaps for the first time what divine love is. 

Memory stays with the body and dies.  All nervous sensation software/function stays with the body and dies.  Reasoning dies, learning dies.

The adapted model is shown below.  You are now an angel.

 

Related observations