What are ringworm, athlete's foot, and jock itch? — They are skin infections caused by a fungus. These types of fungal infections are also called "tinea."
Some people call these fungal infections "ringworm," because they often cause a ring-shaped, red, itchy rash on the skin. But a ring-shaped rash is not always there. People with athlete's foot might instead have moist, raw skin between their toes, or flaking skin on the bottoms of their feet and picture 3). People with jock itch often just have a red rash on the groin.
Sometimes, especially in children, the fungus can infect the scalp. On the scalp, the infection can look like a bald spot or a round flaky patch of skin.
How did I get a fungal infection? — You can catch fungal infections from anyone who is infected. You can also catch them from an infected dog or cat. Plus, you can pick up the infections from places where the fungus might be, such as:
A shower stall
The locker room floor
The area near a pool
If you have a fungal infection on one part of your body, you can also spread it to other parts. For instance, men with a fungal infection on their feet sometimes spread it to their groin.
How are fungal infections treated? — The treatment for a fungal infection depends on which body part is affected. If you have a fungal infection on your scalp, you must take pills that will kill the fungus. Treatment for scalp infections usually lasts 1 to 3 months.
If you have a fungal infection on your feet, groin, or another body part, you probably will not need pills. Instead, you can use a special gel, cream, lotion, or powder that kills fungus. Treatment with these products lasts 2 to 4 weeks.
If you have a fungal infection on your groin and on your feet, you must treat both infections at the same time. If you do not, the infection on your feet can spread to your groin again.
How do I keep from getting a fungal infection again? — If someone in your home has had a fungal infection on their scalp:
Get rid of any combs, brushes, barrettes, or other hair products that could have the fungus on them
Make sure a doctor or nurse checks everyone in the house for a fungal infection
If the fungal infection might have come from a pet, have it checked by a vet
Here are some other general tips on how to prevent fungal infections:
Do not share unwashed clothes, sports gear, or towels with other people
Always wear slippers or sandals when at the gym, pool, or other public areas. That includes public showers.
Wash with soap and shampoo after sports or exercise
Change your socks and underwear at least once a day
Keep your skin clean and dry. Always dry yourself well after swimming or showering.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 15478 Version 7.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
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