Tinea – When Unwanted Guests Make You Their Home
Tinea – When Unwanted Guests Make You Their Home
Here comes that lovely summer warmth we’ve all been missing – yippee!!!
But with the warmth, comes sweat. Then add a few fungal spores, and they make themselves at home – with you as their unwilling host!
Never fear….it’s easy to rid yourself of this ghastly guest if you get the right advice and the right product. The best antifungal treatments are available today at your local DCO pharmacy - just ask your pharmacist for advice on the right treatment for you.
- Itching, chafing, or burning in the groin or thigh
- A circular, red, raised rash with elevated edges
- Redness in the groin or thigh
- Flaking, peeling, or cracking skin
Ringworm (medically known as tinea corporis – when on the body, and tinea capitis – when on the head), is not actually a worm as the name implies, but a fungal infection of the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body and it looks like a circular, red, flat sore. It is often accompanied by scaly skin. The outer part of the sore can be raised while the skin in the middle appears normal. On the scalp, it is often detected as a bald spot within the hair.
Is Tinea Contagious?
The fungus that causes tinea can be spread by direct, skin-to-skin contact with infected people or animals, or via indirect contact, through towels, clothes and floors. It grows best in a warm, moist environment such as shoes, socks,
The Most Common Fungal Skin Infections
Tinea is the medical name for fungal skin infections, and they are generally categorised depending on the area of the body affected. These include the following:
Athlete's Foot (medically known as tinea pedis), is a very common fungal infection of the foot. Symptoms of athlete's foot vary depending on person and the type of fungus involved, but may include:
- Peeling, cracking, and scaling of the feet
- Itching and/or burning
- Soft or broken-down skin
- Sometimes blisters and/or sores.
Jock itch (medically known as tinea cruris) is tinea of the groin. The fungus thrives in warm, moist areas of the body and as a result, infection can affect the genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks. Infections occur more frequently in the summer or in warm, wet climates. Symptoms include:
underwear, swimming pools, locker rooms, and the floors of public showers. So any warm and moist areas where the public walk barefoot are an ideal environment for the fungus to spread from person to person.
What Causes Tinea?
Tinea is caused by a fungus invading the top layers of your skin. Fungal spores can be present nearly anywhere, from gardens to showers, public pools to in your home.
Most of the times you are exposed to fungal spores, your immune system will fight them off and kill them. But fungi are an ‘opportunistic’ infection, and any weakness in your immune defences will allow them to seize the opportunity to choose you as an infection ‘host’. As a result, fungal infections usually attack weakened skin, such as areas exposed to chafe. People with reduced immunity or poor circulation are also at risk.
Fungi also thrive in moist environments, so excessive sweating or working in wet environments will increase your risk of a fungal infection. And hence, tinea occurs more often in the summer and in warm, humid climates.
Prevention – Better Than A Cure
Practicing good hygiene is your best protection!
- Wash carefully with pH balanced, soap-free cleansers once or twice daily.
- After washing, dry the skin thoroughly with a clean towel, particularly between the toes, the groin and within skin folds.
- Expose the skin to as much air as possible.
For jock-itch ensure you always wear clean and dry underwear, and change it when it is sweaty.
For athlete’s foot - your shoes and socks make a big difference
- Remove your shoes and air your feet as often as possible.
- Wear open-toed shoes to allow air to circulate your toes.
- Wear breathable shoes made of leather or canvas rather than synthetic or plastic.
- Don't spend any more time than you need to in sweaty sports shoes. And let them dry out before wearing them again.
- Avoid borrowing other people's shoes.
- Always wear clean, dry socks, and change your socks when they are damp from sweat.
- Wear cotton or wool socks rather than nylon. Synthetics make you sweat more.
- Consider replacing old footwear, as they could be contaminated with fungal spores.
- If you have (or have had) athlete’s foot – use an antifungal powder or spray in your shoes to kill any spores – ask your friendly Direct Chemist Outlet team member for advice!
In public places – avoid walking barefoot in public areas, especially around pools and gyms. Wear thongs or sandals.
If you have pets – check them for bare patches of skin. Hair loss in pets can be a sign of a fungal infection – the same fungus that causes tinea. Pets can spread fungus to people. Ask your vet for advice.
It’s ok! If you find yourself hosting a fungal infection, you can rid yourself of this unwelcome nuisance. Most fungal skin infections are relatively easy to treat with antifungal or fungicidal medications that are applied to the skin. There are a variety of treatment options available from your local Direct Chemist Outlet. Ask for advice from your friendly team member for the right product for you.
DISCLAIMER: This material contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical or professional advice, nor should it be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating any illness. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your local pharmacist or health care provider to obtain professional advice relevant to your specific circumstances.