Tinea is a group of fungal infections including ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch, among others.
These fungal pathogens are not usually life-threatening or even severe, however, they can be extremely
Tinea infections spread through skin-to-skin contact. They typically occur when a child or adult touches an
infected person or an infected surface. Tinea fungi thrive in damp and warm environments. They can
spread on wet or moist surfaces, as with public showers or locker room floors. Sweating can also
increase the chance of spreading or receiving this infection.
Tinea can spread between people and animals, though you can carry tinea infections without showing
symptoms. Always use good hygiene and try not to share personal items.
How to Reduce Spreading
A selenium sulfide shampoo can be used for scalp shedding to reduce spreading. Apply the shampoo
and leave on scalp for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
Tinea infections may reoccur. In order to limit exposure to tinea and to reduce the chance of reinfection,
follow good hygiene. Avoid sharing materials like hairbrushes, combs or hats. Keep the body clean and
dry. Use sandals or foot protection in public spaces like swimming pools or public showers. Wear clean
socks and underwear every day.
Do not use oily products. Wear loose clothes and protect all surfaces of the skin from the sun.
- Itchy/uncomfortable sores/lesions
- Circular, ring-shaped sores
- Slightly red with scaly border
- May grow as large as 1 inch in diameter and can occur in any number
Tinea capitis is a fungus that causes ringworm of the scalp. This is very common among children, especially when sharing hairbrushes, combs, hair ties, etc. Ringworm of the scalp can cause itchiness and patches of round, raised lesions. Those who are allergic to the fungus may develop a kerion, which appears like a pus-filled sore on the scalp. As soon as the fungus is treated, this will heal. Steroids may be used to speed up healing.
Tinea corporis is a fungus that causes ringworm of the body. Wresters often are afflicted with this tinea infection. Due to the nature of wrestlers often getting this infection, it may also be referred to as tinea gladiatorum.
Tinea pedis is a fungus that causes athlete’s foot. It is most common on the foot and between the toes. The skin of the foot may become itchy and red, with cracking/flaking between the toes. It is most common in adolescents.
Tinea cruris is a fungus that causes jock itch. Jock itch is indicated by a rash in the groin area, an area that is usually moist and warm. It is common in those wearing athletic gear in the groin region.
Tinea versicolor, or pityriasis versicolor, is a fungus that causes a yeast-like skin infection. It can occur in many areas on the body. Tinea versicolor is common in tropical areas that are warm and moist. This infection prevents the skin from tanning. These spots can be very faint and many may not know that they are infected. It can be common in those with oily skin, as with teens and young adults. Tinea versicolor thrives in hot, humid weather, sweaty skin, oily skin, and a weak immune system. It may disappear in cold weather, then reappear when the weather warms again.
Treat tinea infections topically with antifungal creams or drying powders. Creams and
powders are not useful for scalp infections. For these infections, take antifungal medication
orally. The most common antifungal is called griseofulvin, taken for 4-6 weeks. Topical medications
clotrimazole and ketoconazole are used to treat other forms of ringworm.
Be sure to cleanse and dry the area before applying any medication. It’s important to follow directions
closely and apply for the entire length of time recommended. If you stop applying as soon as the
infection disappears, it may still live in your system and may develop a resistance to the medication.
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