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When skin is infected by a fungus, the resultant infection is called tinea corporis (ringworm). It is most common in athletes and children. The infection may appear on the scalp, beards, groin, in between the toes and other places.
Tinea corporis can be caused by:
- Skin contact
- It is contagious, so if you use towels, bed linens and clothes of an infected person, you will get infected too.
- Touching a pet infected by tinea corporis.
Signs and Symptoms:
- The rash starts as a scant area of red, bumpy pimples and spots. Then the rash forms a ring, with raised, red borders and a clear middle. The border might look scaly.
- The rash may show up on face, legs, arms or other body areas which are exposed.
- The area feels itchy. It might also be flaky and dry. You might even experience hair loss in the infected area.
The skin in the area will be gently scraped off and the sample will be collected. Then, the sample will be viewed under a microscope. That will help discerning, which type of fungus is causing the infection.
The following treatment regime must be followed:
- The skin must be kept dry and clean.
- Fungal creams are best. Creams that contain miconazole, ketoconazole, clotrimazole or oxiconazole are excellent for fungal infections.
- Only apply the cream on clean skin. You can use it twice in a day. Bandaging the infected area is not recommended.
- To prevent the infection from spreading, wash your towels in warm water and use clean towels every time you bathe. Also, clean the bathroom and wear freshly washed clothes.
- If pets are infected, treat them as well.
The infection usually goes away under 4 weeks. The infection may branch out to the nails, groin, scalp and feet. Self-care is effective, but if symptoms persist, then do consult a specialist. Ringworms have certain complications, such as scratching the skin too much causes skin infections and other skin disorders, which may need further treatment.