Dermatophytosis, also referred to as ringworm or tinea, is a fungal infection of the skin. It can affect various parts of the body and it is classified according to the specific location. For example, Dermatophytosis of the scalp is called tinea capitis, of the nails tinea unguium, tinea pedis or athlete’s foot affects the skin of the feet and tinea barbae is seen on the bearded parts of the face. There is also tinea corporis which affects the entire body, usually in children, and tinea cruris or jock itch, which can bee seen in the groin area.
Symptoms of dermatophytosis
The symptoms also vary depending on the location. Tinea capitis is usually in form of pus-filled lesions or papules, tinea barbae appears as folliculitis and tinea corporis consists of mainly flat lesions that are usually dry and scaly.
Tinea ungium affects first one nail and then it progresses to other nails as well, making them thick, crumbly and discolored. In tinea pedis, the skin, usually between the toes, becomes red, dry and itchy. Tinea cruris is characterized by raised and well-defined small lesions in the groin area, possibly spreading to the thighs and buttocks too.
Prevention of Dermatophytosis
Prevention of Dermatophytosis mainly consists of good personal hygiene and of avoiding those factors that are identified as causes of Dermatophytosis. The main cause of this skin infection is fungi, but there are also factors that increase the risk of their multiplication and overgrowth.
It is safe to assume that every healthy individual is exposed to some level of fungi but the fact that the infection does not occur is due to good hygiene and strong immune system.
Factors that increase the risk of fungi overgrowth and consequently the infection include moisture, warmth and darkness, which make an ideal environment for the fungi. For example, tinea pedis can be avoided by washing the feet regularly and drying them thoroughly after washing, wearing breathable socks made of cotton or other natural materials, washing the shoes regularly and keeping the skin moisturized so it does not crack. The prevention of jock itch is similar and here too the main thing is to keep the area dry. Those who find it difficult to maintain the dryness of the skin should use talc or similar products.
Avoiding contaminated surfaces and environments is also essential in prevention of Dermatophytosis. This means public showers and bathrooms, unclean swimming pools and such. It also means avoiding wearing other people’s clothes and footwear and not sharing personal items such as towels, combs and such.
Can it be cured?
With proper treatment, Dermatophytosis can be completely cured and the recurring infections are not very common. However, it is important to know how to prevent future infections and to keep them from coming back.