The fungus causing tinea is a microscopic organism that grows in the outer skin and prefers moisture. When this fungus infects the feet, it is athlete's foot (tinea pedis). The groin rash is jock itch (tinea cruris). The body rash is ringworm (tinea corporis).
Additional Measures to Help Fight Infections
We may prescribe creams, ointments, lotions, sprays, powders, or shampoos as another front of attack on your fungus infection. There are a few general guidelines, however, that will work to speed the cure or control of your fungal infection.
Tinea often comes back. Warmth and moisture encourage the fungus to grow. You can help prevent recurrences by drying thoroughly after bathing, wearing loose cotton underwear, and dusting with an absorbent powder such as Zeasorb-AF on the skin once or twice a day. After swimming, put on dry clothes right away; don't stay in a wet swimsuit. You may wish to dry the skin area with a hair dryer set on an air only or low setting. If you have athlete's foot, wear ventilated shoes, especially in warm weather. Go barefoot or wear sandals as much as possible. Wear clean, absorbent cotton socks and change them frequently. Bathe daily and dry thoroughly and carefully, especially between your toes, with a dry, clean towel. Powders may help to keep the area dry.
If you have jock itch, dryness is key to preventing the worsening and recurrence of the infection. Try to keep the area as dry as possible by wearing cool, loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear. Bathe daily and thoroughly dry the infected area.
With fungal infection of the scalp or body, towels, combs, and clothing of the infected person should be kept separate from those of other household members.
Tinea is only one cause of itching. Please do not give your medicine to anyone else or use it on a different rash.
SCALP RINGWORM (TINEA CAPITIS)
Scalp ringworm is also known as tinea capitis. This means that a fungus (the ringworm) has infected your hair deep down into the roots and has caused the flaking, pustules, and loss of hair which you have noticed. Scalp ringworm is infectious and contagious. Therefore, it is very important that any of your friends and relatives be carefully screened to see if they have any evidence of infection. We would be happy to see any family members about whom you are concerned. It is also important to know that ringworm can produce small, scaly, red to brown patches on the skin, and that these should also be treated.
Because the infection is deep down in the hair roots, you must take medicine by mouth in order to cure it. In addition, we have recommended a special shampoo which should be used three times weekly to help get rid of the fungus which is on the scalp.
Once you are on treatment and using shampoo regularly, you should be allowed to return to work or school without fear of infecting others. The medication must be taken for at least six weeks and not stopped until we have proven that the infection is cured. We expect to see you again in follow-up for a check-up. If you have any questions, please contact our office and speak to one of our dermatology nurses.