- Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection. Contrary to its name, "ringworm" is not caused by a worm. It’s actually caused by a fungus called tinea, which typically causes a ring-shaped, red, scaly, mildly itchy rash.
- Other fungal infections include tinea cruris, tinea capitis, tinea barbae and tinea pedis. Ringworm is the common name for tinea corporis, when the fungus causes a rash on the torso or limbs. It can also cause infections in the groin (tinea cruris, commonly known as "Jock Itch"), the scalp (tinea capitis), the beard area (tinea barbae) and the feet (tinea pedis, commonly known as "Athlete’s Foot").
- Tinea fungi can live on skin, bedding, towels and other common items. Tinea is contagious. It can be transmitted from person to person, animal to person, or from contact with tinea-infected bedding, towels and other household items. Tinea can also live on the floor of bathtubs, showers, gyms and locker rooms (Don’t forget your shower shoes!).
- There are several risk factors for developing a tinea infection. Having contact with an infected person or animal, moist environments, communal baths or showers and contaminated workout equipment can increase your risk of developing a tinea skin infection. Also, sweating, wearing wet clothes (like swimsuits or sweaty workout clothes), and obesity can increase your risk of a tinea infection, since the fungus tends to thrive in moist, warm, dark environments such as the armpits and groin.
- There are several ways to prevent tinea infections. You can often prevent a tinea infection by taking a few simple steps like washing your hands frequently, regularly laundering your sheets, towels and clothes, frequently sanitizing hard surfaces in shared spaces and if you’re sweaty or wet, quickly showering and changing into dry clothes.
- Tinea infections are curable. The good news is that tinea infections are curable! The most common treatment is a topical antifungal cream that’s applied once or twice a day. Most tinea infections resolve in 14 days or less of a topical treatment.For tinea infections that are deep, affect a large skin surface area, or don’t respond to topical treatments, there are several oral antifungal medications available to eradicate the infection.
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