[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  1. Health

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://adam.about.net/encyclopedia/infectiousdiseases/Tinea-corporis.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

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

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.

Exams 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.

Outlook (Prognosis)

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

Possible 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

When to Contact a Medical Professional

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.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.