Tinea – Capitis, Corporis, Cruris, Pedis and Nail Fungus
What is tinea?
Tinea is a fungus which can cause a variety of rashes including “ring worm”, “jock itch”, and “athlete’s foot”. These rashes can be scaly, itchy, or both. The fungus is a microscopic plant that grows on the outer layer of the skin. It often likes to live in dark, warm, moist places such as the feet and groin.
- Tinea capitis (head) – This fungus tends to be contracted from other people or from animals, especially cattle and dogs. It often leads to scaly patches in the scalp associated with hair loss. Occasionally the infection can involve the deep hair follicles and leads to a swollen, tender scalp area called a “kerion”.
- Tinea corporis (body) – Also known as “ringworm”. This fungus tends to be contracted from other people or from animals, such as dogs and cats. It appears as slightly red, scaly rings on the body. There may be one or many lesions on the body. It is often spread amongst wrestlers due to the close body contact.
- Tinea cruris (leg folds) – Also known as “jock itch”. This itchy groin rash appears as red scaly patches in the leg folds. It is often found in people who also have athlete’s foot, as the fungus can be carried from the feet to the groin while getting dressed.
- Tinea pedis (feet) – Some people have a family trait that allows chronic growth of fungus on the feet, and occasionally on one of the hands. Such chronic infections begin after adolescence on the soles and between the toes and may progress in later years to involve itching. Occasionally it can be severe and cause blisters on the feet. Involvement of the nails (Onychomycosis) can occur, appearing as thickened, crumbling nails, or debris underneath the nail. The great toenails are most often involved.
Antifungal lotions, creams, powders, and pills can be prescribed by your Provider.
- Tinea capitis and Onychomycosis (Nail Fungus)– This often requires antifungal pills as the hair follicles are involved. Griseofulvin, itraconazole, and terbenafine (Lamisil) are three different antifungals, each with its own possible side effects and dosage forms. Most antifungal pills can affect the liver, so abstinence from medications and alcohol which can also affect the liver is recommended during treatment. Some medications also require blood tests. Your Physician will discuss this with you. Using a selenium sulfide shampoo (for tinea capitis) is recommended to prevent fungal spores from reinfecting the site. Jublia is a topical liquid medication which can be used nightly for 52 weeks, to the affected nails to treat them.
- Tinea Pedis – antifungal creams, such as Luzu and econazole, are used twice daily for 2 weeks to the feet and in between the toes to treat foot fungus. It is important to use antifungal powder (zeasorb AF) in all shoes to prevent reinfection
- Tinea corporis or cruris – “Ringworm” and “Jock itch” are often cured with topical antifungal creams alone. These are typically applied twice daily until the rash has cleared, and then used for 2 weeks after clearance to prevent recurrence. Occasionally an antifungal pill is prescribed for ringworm if it doesn’t respond to creams.