Dermatophytosis infections or Tinea infections are the fungal infections that are caused by dermatophytes or a group of fungi that invade and grow in dead keratin. There are several species which invade commonly the human keratin and they tend to grow outwards on skin; by producing a ring-like pattern and thus are termed as ringworm. Dermatophytosis infections are pretty common and affect various parts of the body.
Dermatophytosis, which is also known as ringworm, is a fungal infection of the skin which typically results in a red, itchy, scaly, and circular rash. About 40 different types of fungi can cause dermatophytosis. Public showers, contact sports like wrestling, excessive sweating, obesity, contact with animals, and poor immune system are some of the risk factors of dermatophytosis or ringworm. Dermatophytosis or ringworm can spread in humans from other animals or between people. Usually dermatophytosis is diagnosed based on the appearance and symptoms of the affected individual.
It is noted that up to 20% of the population may be infected by dermatophytosis at any given point of time. Generally the infections of the groin are more common in males, while infections of the scalp and body occur equally in both men and women.
Treatment of dermatophytosis is typically done with antifungal creams. Prevention is done by keeping the skin dry, avoiding sharing personal items, by not walking barefoot in public places, etc.
Causes of Dermatophytosis:
Dermatophytosis is caused by specific types of fungus known as Microsporum or Trichophyton, that grow on the skin surface, nail and hair. The fungi that cause the infections, thrive in moist and warm areas, like in tanning beds, swimming pools, locker rooms, skin folds etc. Dermatophytosis may spread by using exercise machines at the gym that have not been disinfected after use, or by sharing towels, footwear, clothing etc.
Symptoms of Dermatophytosis:
Some of the specific signs and symptoms of Dermatophtosis include the following.
- Red, Itchy, Scaly and raised patches.
- Patches may be even redder on outside edges or may resemble a ring.
- Patches may begin to ooze or may develop blisters.
- In case the scalp is affected from the infection, there may be bald patches on the scalp seen.
- In case nails are affected by the infection then the nails may thicken, discolour or may begin to crack.
Is Dermatophytosis Contagious?
When we talk about Whether dermatophytosis is contagious or not, it must be mentioned that yes it is! Dermatophytosis spreads through contact with any infected person, pet or even object. In case you are wondering, how contagious dermatophytosis is then you must be informed that it is extremely contagious. Ringworm or dermatophytosis is so contagious that they do not require direct contact to spread the infection, It is not easy to contain as it can survive for a longtime in public spaces such as swimming pools, locker rooms, objects like brushes, combs etc.
The dermatophytosis infection is very common in children where it speads when they play contact sport, swim in the swimming pools, share items like socks, towels, sports equipments etc.
Dermatophytosis can pass on to humans through human contact and also human and animal or pet contact.
Now, when we talk about how long dermatophytosis is contagious for, then the answer is that it is contagious until you do not treat the infection. Once the treatment begins, dermatophytosis stops spreading within a period of 24 hours to 48 hours. If it is a mild infection then it is easy to treat.
Diagnosis of Dermatophytosis:
Diagnosis of Dermatophytosis can be done by following means.
- A good medical history and a physical examination of the skin.
- Microscopy of the skin and nail specimens may also be helpful. These may reveal hyphae and spores.
- A fungal culture can also help in identifying the species; however it is not always reliable and also this test can take 6 weeks to obtain the results.
- Some strains of fungus glow (fluoresce) under a special black light or Wood's UV lamp. So, Wood's Light or Ultraviolet light can be a beneficial procedure for identifying the causative organism of dermaptophytosis.
- In atypical cases, rarely there may be a requirement of a biopsy.
Treatments for Dermatophytosis:
Antifungal Treatments With Topical Agents:
Antifungal treatments include topical agents like Miconazole, Clotrimazole, Terbinafine, Ketoconazole or Tolnaftate; which are the creams applied two times regularly until the symptoms of Dermatophytosis resolve. This treatment for dermatophytosis usually starts showing results in one or two weeks. However, the topical treatments should be continued for additional week, even after resolution of visible symptoms of dermatophytosis, so as to prevent recurrence.
Systemic Treatments of Dermatophytosis with Oral Medication:
In more severe cases of dermatophytosis infections, systemic treatment with oral medications may be given to the affected person. Generally, Terbinafine 250 mg can be taken regularly for two weeks or up to 6 weeks. Even, Itraconazole 100 mg can be taken twice regularly for one week.
Treatment of Dermatophytosis in Case Of Pregnant Or Breastfeeding Women:
In case of pregnant or breastfeeding women, clotrimazole or Miconazole is recommended topically, so as to treat the infection of dermatophytosis.
It is always advised to refer to a dermatologist and take the most relevant treatments for the condition.
Prevention Against Dermatophytosis:
Some of the preventive measures include:
- Do not share sport equipments, towels, clothing etc.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places to prevent getting infected with dermatphytosis
- Wash your clothes in hot water with fungicidal soap after you suspected exposure to dermatophytosis.
- Avoid touching pets with bald spots, as they are most often carriers of the fungus causing dermatophytosis.
Follow the preventive measures and keep self safe from dermatophytosis infection. However, in case you are diagnosed with dermatophytosis then do not delay in taking up the necessary treatments.
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