What is it?

Ringworm otherwise known as tinea is a common fungal skin infection that forms a ring-shaped rash. There is no actual worm involved in the infection. Commonly affected sites are the skin on the body (tinea corporis), the scalp (tinea capitis), the feet (tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot), or the groin (tinea cruris, or jock itch).

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of ringworm include:

  • A ring-like red or silvery rash on your skin. The skin will look red and irritated around the ring, but healthy inside scaly, itchy and inflamed skin.

In more severe cases:

  • The rings may multiply, grow in size and merge together.
  • The rings may feel slightly raised and the skin underneath may be itchy with blisters and pus-filled sores around the rings.
  • Ringworm on the face and neck may be itchy and swollen, and can become dry and crusted. If you have a beard, you may notice patches of hair breaking away.
  • Ringworm on the hand often causes the skin to become thicker on the palm and in between the fingers. It may affect one hand or both and normally only appears on one side.

The symptoms of a fungal scalp infection include:

  • Small patches of scaly skin on the scalp, which may be sore.
  • Patchy hair loss.
  • An itchy scalp.
  • Small, pus-filled sores on the scalp.
  • Crusting on the scalp.
  • Bald patches (if your hair is affected).

The main symptom of Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is an itchy, dry, red and flaky rash, usually in the spaces between your toes. Symptoms in more severe cases include:

  • Cracked skin in the affected area.
  • Blisters, which may ooze or crust.
  • Swelling of the skin.
  • A burning or stinging sensation in your skin.
  • Scaling patterns around your sole, between your toes and on the side of your foot.

The symptoms of jock itch (tinea cruris) include:

  • Red-brown sores, which may have blisters or pus-filled sores around the edge.
  • Itchiness and redness around the groin area, such as the inner thighs and bottom (the genitals are not usually affected).
  • Scaly, flaky skin on your inner thighs.
  • Exercising, walking and wearing tight clothing or underwear can make the symptoms of a groin infection worse.

The symptoms of a fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) include:

  • A whitish thickening of the nail.
  • Discolouration of the nail - white, black, yellow or green.
  • The nail can become brittle and start to fall off.
  • The skin around the nail may be sore and irritated.

What to expect?

As it is a benign condition, self-care measure can help in treating tinea. You can try the following:

  • Treat affected area with over-the-counter antifungal creams, tablets or shampoo.

Fungal infections severity and spread can be stopped by doing the following:

  • Washing areas of affected skin daily and drying thoroughly, paying particular attention to skin folds and between your toes.
  • In the case of a groin/foot infection, changing your underwear/socks daily, because fungi can persist in flakes of skin.
  • Washing clothes, towels and bed linen frequently.
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes, preferably made of cotton or other natural materials.
  • Avoid sharing personal items – such as combs, hairbrushes, towels, clothing and bed linen.
  • Avoid scratching the affected areas of your skin or scalp, because it could spread the infection to other parts of your body.

Think you might have Tinea (Ringworm)?

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Think you might have Tinea (Ringworm)?