Tinea is the medical term for ringworm; it is a highly contagious fungal infection of the skin. This skin disease can occur on any part of the body. It should be understood that ringworm is not caused by any kind of worm; it is caused by a type of parasitic fungus classified as a dermatophyte.
Tinea is the medical term for ringworm; it is a highly contagious fungal infection of the skin. This skin disease can occur on any part of the body. It should be understood that ringworm is not caused by any kind of worm; it is caused by a type of parasitic fungus classified as a dermatophyte. There are many types of tinea classified in this group of dermatophytes.
Our skin is made of a substance called keratin, which is found in the dead layers of our skin, nails and hair. The most common places for tinea to attack are the warm moist areas such as under the breasts, on the head, in the groin, in the armpits, and on the chin, hands and feet. The names of each of these types of tinea are Tinea corporis, Tinea capitis, Tinea cruris (jock itch), Tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), Tinea manuum (on the hands) and Tinea barbae (on the chin). Tinea corporis can also affect the arm pits, under the breasts (sub-mammary) and other areas of the body such as on the back and abdomen.
Another type of dermatophyte can occur in the toenails and fingernails. This type of tinea is medically termed Tinea unguium. Tinea unguium is easy to spot. The toenails and fingernails can become thick and pitted. This form of tinea can invade the cuticle and the nail bed. Oftentimes, individuals with tinea in their nails will have thick, rough, yellow nails.
The type of tinea that lives on the skin starts out as a pimple or blister and then slowly becomes a red scaly patch on the skin. Ringworm usually takes the form of a red ring. A person may have just one patch of tinea, or there could be multiple patches. The type of tinea that lives on the head can cause temporary baldness in the infected area. Most people with tinea infections experience itching and cracking of the skin.
How is tinea spread?
The fungi that cause these various infections are parasites. Some forms of ringworm can also live on animals. The infection could be passed from animal to human. Tinea can also be spread by direct contact with hair brushes, and combs, bed linins, and any object used by the infected person. Any object that has been in contact with the infected person should be disinfected. For instance, before using a telephone that has been in contact with an infected person, it should be wiped down or sprayed with a disinfectant.
Treatment for tinea
The uncomfortable itching will likely be enough for you to see a doctor at some point. Your doctor can diagnose ringworm just by observing the areas of your body that are affected; a scrape test of the infected area may be collected and cultured to medically confirm the presence of the offending fungi.
Treatment of a tinea infection will be accomplished through the prescription use of fungicidal medications such as creams and lotions. It is fairly rare that a doctor would prescribe oral antifungal and antibiotic medications, but if the severity of the condition warrants it, they may also be used to treat ringworm. All medications should be taken for as long as the prescription indicates to make sure the fungal infection has been resolved.
Tinea infections are contagious; therefore, it is advised that you don’t share any of your personal items with anyone else. Thus, the shower or tub should be cleaned after each use so that no one else using it will become infected.
If you have Tinea Pedis (athlete’s foot), be sure to put socks or stockings on before getting dressed. If you wear jeans, slacks or shorts while you have athlete’s foot, the organisms can be transferred to the clothes and then transferred to your groin area.