Tinea is a highly-contagious fungal skin infection that affects the feet (athletes foot/tinea pedis), groin (jock itch), scalp, skin underneath the breasts, fingernails and toenails.
The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments and it can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or indirectly via clothing, towels, linens and floors.
The infections are not usually serious but can be uncomfortable and itchy. A red patch can appear and often this area will blister, crack, split, weep, flake and peel. Nails may develop a yellow or white discolouration and bald spots can appear on the scalp. Sometimes the infection can grow in a circular ring pattern – this is sometimes called ringworm, which is confusing because there is no worm involved.
Keep the infected area dry and clean. Anti-fungal creams and tablets can be purchased from the chemist and supermarket, typically healing the infection within 4 weeks. Make sure you wash your hands after touching infected areas.
Good hygiene can prevent tinea from recurring. Techniques to avoid a tinea infection include; drying skin thoroughly (particularly between toes, groin and under breasts), wearing thongs in public areas, exposing skin to as much air as possible and wearing cotton socks.
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References used for this topic page
- Tinea is a highly contagious fungal skin infection that thrives in warm, moist environments.
- A red patch can appear and the skin can become uncomfortable and itchy.
- Anti-fungal creams and tablets typically heal the infection within 4 weeks.
Last updated: 4th May, 2020