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Home :: Skin Disorders

Tinea Infections - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 

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Tinea infections are superficial fungal infections caused by three species of fungi collectively known as dermatophytes. Fungal infection is involved in athlete's foot and jock itch. In most cases, the skin becomes white, soft and peels away between the toes (especially between the fourth and little toes). Fungal transmission occurs through direct contact with infected persons, animals, soil or fomites. Tinea capitis (also called ringworm of the scalp) is a skin disorder that affects children almost exclusively. It can be persistent and contagious, almost to the point of epidemic; however, it often disappears spontaneously at puberty. Although ringworm can affect almost any area of the body, it favors places that are dark and moist, such as skin in the groin area, the spaces between the toes and the deep skin folds of obese people. It looks like a round or oval sore with a red outline, and can be itchy.The classic presentation of tinea infection, known as "ringworm," is a lesion with central clearing surrounded by an advancing, red, scaly, elevated border. Ringworm is a fungal disease just like athlete's foot.

Tinea is a fungus that can grow on your skin, hair or nails. At the edge of the ring, the skin is lifted up by the irritation and looks red and scaly. To some people, the infection looks like a worm is under the skin. The term "tinea" refers exclusively to dermatophyte infections. Tinea infections are classified according to their anatomic location. "Ringworm" is a misleading term that refers to the circular appearance of the fungal lesion. There are no worms involved. The presence of inflammation may necessitate the use of an agent with inherent anti-inflammatory properties or the use of a combination antifungal/steroid agent. Children often get ringworm from playing with stray cats or dogs, and is also more common in adults who are involved in contact sports, gardening and have a lot of contact with cats and dogs. People with ringworm on other parts of their skin can have a ring-shaped rash that is reddish and may be itchy. Tinea corporis is a common infection more often seen in typically hot, humid climates. The rash can be dry and scaly or wet and crusty. Acute vesicular tinea pedis is characterised by the rapid onset of vesicles that appear over the plantar or dorsal surface of the foot.

Causes of Tinea Infection

The comman causes of Tinea Infection include the following:

  • Tinea infections are superficial fungal infections caused by three species of fungi collectively known as dermatophytes.
  • The infection is spread through contact with infected people, animals or soil.
  • Because fungal arthroconidia can survive in the environment, recurrent outbreaks may occur.
  • Tinea imbricata is caused by T concentricum.
  • Using an infected person's clothing, shoes or personal grooming items such as combs, brushes or towels.
  • Internationally, the most common cause is T rubrum.
  • Ringworm is more likely when you have frequent wetness (such as from sweating) and minor injuries to your skin, scalp, or nails.

Symptoms of Tinea Infection

Some sign and symptoms related to Tinea Infection are as follows:

  • The infection will appear as a round or oval sore with a red outline.
  • Itching of the affected area.
  • Yellow color to the nails.
  • Pain in the groin area.
  • Whitening of the skin between the toes.
  • Thickening of the ends of the nails.
  • The infection is usually seen on the trunk, arm, hands, nails, and the groin and upper thighs.
  • Occasionally localized area of swelling, raw skin, or pus filled lesion on the scalp (kerion).
  • A rash that becomes raw and weepy when scratched.
  • A rash that may have blisters (severe cases).
  • Hair loss on the scalp.

Treatment of Tinea Infection

Here is list of the methods for treating Tinea Infection:

  • The infection is often treated with topical antifungal agents such as miconazole , itraconazole , terbinafine and a keratolytic such as salicylic acid.
  • Antibiotics may be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections.
  • Oral terbinafine may be used at a dosage of 250 mg/d for 2 weeks.
  • Topical therapy is recommended for a localized infection because dermatophytes rarely invade living tissues.
  • Treatment for scalp ringworm may also involve the use of a special shampoo (such as one containing selenium sulfide) to help eliminate the fungus.
  • Systemic therapy is needed when the infection involves hair follicles, such as Majocchi granuloma.
  • Also, for moccasin tinea pedis caused by Scytalidium species, Whitfield solution, containing benzoic and salicylic acids, can be beneficial.
  • If the fungal invader is not a dermatophyte but a yeast, other medications such as fluconazole may be used.