Reference Index - Disease & Conditions

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Dermatitis, reaction to tinea
Dermatitis, reaction to tinea


Ringworm, tinea corporis on an infant's leg
Ringworm, tinea corporis on an infant's leg


Tinea versicolor - close-up
Tinea versicolor - close-up


Tinea versicolor - shoulders
Tinea versicolor - shoulders


Ringworm, tinea on the hand and leg
Ringworm, tinea on the hand and leg


Tinea versicolor - close-up
Tinea versicolor - close-up


Tinea versicolor on the back
Tinea versicolor on the back


Ringworm, tinea manuum on the finger
Ringworm, tinea manuum on the finger


Ringworm, tinea corporis on the leg
Ringworm, tinea corporis on the leg


Granuloma, fungal (Majocchi's)
Granuloma, fungal (Majocchi's)


Granuloma, fungal (Majocchi's)
Granuloma, fungal (Majocchi's)


Tinea corporis - ear
Tinea corporis - ear


Tinea corporis

Definition:

Tinea corporis is a skin infection due to fungi.

See also:



Alternative Names:

Fungal infection - body; Infection - fungal - body; Tinea of the body; Tinea circinata; Ringworm - body



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Tinea corporis (often called ringworm of the body) is a common skin disorder, especially among children. However, it may occur in people of all ages. It is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes.

Fungi thrive in warm, moist areas. The following raise your risk for a fungal infection:

  • Long-term wetness of the skin (such as from sweating)
  • Minor skin and nail injuries
  • Poor hygiene

Tinea corporis is contagious. You can catch the condition if you come into direct contact with someone who is infected, or if you touch contaminated items such as:

  • Clothing
  • Combs
  • Pool surfaces
  • Shower floors and walls

The fungi can also be spread by pets (cats are common carriers).



Symptoms:

Symptoms include itching and a ring-shaped, red-colored skin rash. The rash may occur on the arms, legs, face, or other exposed body areas. The border of the rash lesions look scaly.



Signs and tests:

The primary diagnosis is based on how the skin looks.

In some cases, the following tests may be done:



Treatment:

Keep the skin clean and dry. Over-the-counter antifungal creams, such as those that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or similar ingredients, are often effective in controlling ringworm.

Severe or chronic infection may need further treatment by your health care provider.

Oral antifungal medications may be used for severe, widespread fungal infections, or an infection that has spread deeper into the skin to the hair follicle. Stronger, prescription topical antifungal medications, such as ketoconazole may be needed. Antibiotics may be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections.

Infected pets should also be treated.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Ringworm usually responds to topical medications within 4 weeks. Severe or resistant cases usually respond quickly to antifungal medicines taken by mouth.



Complications:
  • Bacterial skin infections, cellulitis
  • Skin disorders such as pyoderma or dermatophytid
  • Spread of tinea to feet, scalp, groin, or nails
  • Whole-body (systemic) side effects of medications


Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if ringworm does not improve with self-care.



Prevention:

Good general hygiene helps prevent ringworm infections. Avoid contact with infected pets as much as possible.

Clean and dry clothing and household items, such as combs and bathroom surfaces, before you reuse them or another person uses them to prevent the spread of infection. Wash your hands thoroughly after having contact with any fungal infection, including when treating the infection.



References:

Andrews MD, Burns M. Common tinea infections in children. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77:1415-1420.




Review Date: 10/3/2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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