Mould, Fungal and Yeast Infections in Summer: The Connection with the Humidity

The summer season brings higher temperatures and increased humidity, which we are currently experiencing here in South East Queensland and along the East Coast. The prolonged humidity creates an environment that encourages the proliferation of mould, especially indoors which can lead to sinus and respiratory infections and also some autoimmune diseases. 

Fungal infections, such as thrush, athletes foot, jock itch, eczema, and dermatitis along with yeast infections, such as Candida albicans, tend to make their presence known during the summer months and if left untreated can still cause health issues during the cooler months.

The main differences between Yeast and Fungal Infections 

  • Yeast infections are usually referred to as candidiasis, while fungal infections are known as dermatophytosis.
  • Yeasts can cause vaginal infections, while fungi cause skin diseases like ringworm and athlete’s foot.
  • Yeasts are used in fermentation processes, while fungi are used to make antibiotics.

Understanding Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are caused by the overgrowth of fungi, which thrive in warm, moist environments. Our bodies naturally host various types of fungi, but an imbalance can lead to infections.  

  • Eczema and Dermatitis: Eczema and dermatitis are inflammatory skin conditions that can be exacerbated by fungal infections. The warm and humid weather during summer can intensify these skin conditions, leading to redness, itching, and discomfort. Fungal overgrowth on the skin can further compromise the skin barrier, making it more susceptible to eczema flare-ups. 
  • Athlete's Foot: Athlete's foot, or tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that primarily affects the feet. It's caused by various fungi, such as Trichophyton and Epidermophyton, which thrive in warm and moist environments. 
  • Jock Itch: Jock itch, or tinea cruris, is a similar fungal infection but affects the groin and inner thighs. It's characterised by redness, itching, and a rash, and it's often triggered by the same fungi responsible for athlete's foot. 

 Understanding Yeast Infections 

  • Candida Overgrowth: Candida, a type of yeast, is naturally present in the body, residing in the digestive system and on the skin. However, factors such as a weakened immune system, antibiotics, digestive imbalances or hormonal changes can disrupt the balance, leading to candida overgrowth. Warm and humid conditions create an ideal breeding ground for Candida, triggering infections such as thrush.

  • Oral Thrush: also known as oral candidiasis, is a fungal infection that affects the mouth and throat. It often manifests as white patches on the tongue and inner cheeks, causing discomfort and difficulty swallowing.  During summer, factors like excessive sweating and compromised immune function can contribute to thrush development.
  • Vaginal Thrush: Yeast infections are primarily caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida, commonly Candida albicans. This fungus naturally resides in the vagina, but an imbalance in your vaginal microbiome can lead to reoccurring vaginal infections.  

Factors Contributing to Summer Yeast Infections: 

  • Sweating and Moisture: The body's natural response to heat is sweating, which can lead to increased moisture in the genital area. Moist environments, combined with higher temperatures, provide an optimal setting for yeast overgrowth.
  • Swimwear and Tight Clothing: Wearing tight-fitting clothing, such as skinny jeans, leg-ins and swimwear, for prolonged periods can trap moisture, creating a conducive environment for yeast. It's essential to change out of wet swimwear promptly and choose breathable fabrics and loose fitting jeans.
  • Synthetic Underwear or Activewear: There are a lot of nylon/polyester recycled materials on the market that your underwear and activewear is made from. These materials are highly manufactured and don't allow your body to breathe whilst wearing them. Cotton, especially organic cotton or other natural fibes such as bamboo, hemp or tencil are much more user friendly and breathe whilst you are wearing them or working out. 
  • Altered pH Levels: The pH balance of the vagina plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy environment. Factors such as increased sweating, improper hygiene, hormonal imbalances found in women who are post-natal or are in perimenopause can affect pH levels and the use of harsh soaps can disrupt the pH balance, promoting yeast overgrowth. 
  • Oestrogen Dominance: Recurring vaginal thrush can be a problem for women who suffer from oestrogen dominance. This can affect women who are coming off birth control, due to altered gut microbiome, sluggish liver or women who are in perimenopause. Both can be carrying excess fluid or suffer from bloating during the summer months which can trigger more infections. The hormonal changes, for some women, can cause recurring yeast infections and these can be rare after you transition into menopause and post menopause. 

Understanding Mould Proliferation:

Mould spores, another type of fungi, are abundant in the environment. They thrive in damp conditions and can be found indoors and outdoors. During summer, high humidity levels create an environment conducive to mould growth, especially in poorly ventilated areas. Inhaling mould spores can contribute to:

  • Sinus infections: Mould spores can irritate the nasal passages and sinuses, triggering inflammation and contributing to recurrent sinus infections. Symptoms, include congestion, sinus pressure, facial pain, and nasal discharge.
  • Respiratory issues: Inhalation of mold spores can reach the respiratory tract, potentially leading to infections like bronchitis or pneumonia. Symptoms include, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort.
  • Skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis: Mould exposure can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, exacerbating conditions such as, eczema or dermatitis. Symptoms include, redness, itching, rash, and in severe cases, fungal skin infections (see above.)
  • Mould infections and SIBO: Living and/or working in mould-infested environments exposes us to mycotoxins released by moulds. These mycotoxins can fragment the DNA of T-lymphocytes, leading to reduced white blood cell counts and immune suppression. This immune suppression can contribute to the development of SIBO. When the immune system is compromised, harmful bacteria can proliferate in the small intestine, disrupting the delicate balance of gut flora.

Why Summer and Humidity?

  1. Warmth and Moisture: Summer brings higher temperatures and increased humidity levels, creating an environment where fungi flourish. The combination of warmth and moisture promotes the growth of fungi on the skin and mucous membranes.

  2. Weakened Immune Response: During summer, individuals may engage in activities that compromise their immune system, such as prolonged sun exposure, dehydration, and inadequate sleep. Some of you may have caught a summer cold or flu and this can weaken your immune response which can make your body more susceptible to fungal infections.

  3. Sweat and Skin Irritation: Sweating is the body's natural way of cooling down, but it can also lead to increased moisture on the skin. Friction and moisture create an environment conducive to skin irritation and fungal infections, particularly in areas prone to friction, such as under the breasts or in skin folds or inner thighs.

  4. Digestive imbalances: Over summer people tend to drink more alcohol or sugary drinks along with eating foods high in refined sugars and carbohydrates and this can promote the growth of fungi in the small intestine. This condition is known as small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO) and is a huge factor in people who have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO.) It's not uncommon for people to have both SIBO and SIFO.

Preventive Measures:

  1. Maintain Good Hygiene: Regular bathing, especially after sweating, helps keep the skin clean and reduces the risk of fungal infections. Use mild, low toxin products and make sure that you have dried yourself properly and being mindful of drying between your toes.

  2. Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration is crucial for overall health and can help prevent dehydration-related immune suppression. Ensure a steady intake of water throughout the day. Coconut water is a natural electrolyte - please make sure there are no nasties added and that it is plain coconut water.

  3. Ventilation and Sunlight: Proper ventilation in living spaces helps reduce indoor humidity and inhibits mould growth. Additionally, exposure to sunlight can have antifungal properties. If you are living or working in a space that hasn't got access for you to open your window to allow natural air to flow inside you can purchase an air purifier to remove pollutants and allergens from the air.

  4. A Balanced Diet: Following a diet that is specific for mould, fungal or candida treatment is recommended. It's important to support and build a healthy gut microbiome, which then helps to regulate candida levels and support overall wellbeing. A well-balanced diet rich in nutrients also strengthens the immune system.

As a naturopath, I guide individuals through a comprehensive approach that includes identification and elimination of mould sources, the root cause of your yeast and fungal infection, immune system support, and lifestyle adjustments can help mitigate the impact these imbalances on your health. 

I work with a lot of people who have Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth (SIBO) as this is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive naturopathic approach. By addressing the root causes, implementing targeted interventions, and supporting overall gut health, individuals can work towards restoring balance and reclaiming digestive wellness. If you suspect SIFO or mould exposure, please reach out to me for treatment that will be tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. 

In some cases, testing will be necessary, especially if you have a complex or chronic history of any of these infections. 

If you are wanting to enjoy summer and live your best life in 2024, please book your consultation today. Bookings are via my website link:-

This year is where we focus on you and embracing wellness,


Yours in health and wellness,


Katrina (BHSc - Naturopathy) xxx

katrina froome naturopathy, sibo, ibs, bloating, candida, thrush, eczema, jock itch, humidity, summer, yeast infections








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