What is Hand Fungus?
Hand Fungus which is medically referred to as Tinea Manuum is a fungal infection of the hand caused by dermatophytes, which is a species of the fungi and causes rashes that have a circular shape. They are also known by the name of ringworms. Hand Fungus is a superficial skin infection and does not spread beyond the outer most layer of the skin. Hand Fungus is a pretty rare condition when compared to some of the other skin infections caused by dermatophytes like tinea pedis, which is seen in the foot and tinea unguium, which is a fungal infection of the nails.
The rash caused in hand fungus is not the classic circular rash as seen with other dermatophyte infections, but is quite similar to other forms of dermatophyte infections like tinea corporis and tinea pedis. Dermatophytes have enzymes which have the potential to digest the skin protein present on the surface of the skin and allow the fungus to spread. Once the fungus settles down on the surface of the skin, it starts to grow with time and worsens the condition.
It is important to note how dermatophytes can be transferred to humans. They can be transferred from pets to humans, from soil to humans, and from person to person. The most common way to get Hand Fungus is by scratching on a fungal infection present somewhere else in the body consistently resulting in Hand Fungus.
What Causes Hand Fungus?
Hand Fungus can be caused due to different species of dermatophytes, of which the most common are Trichophyton rubrum. The other species of dermatophytes responsible for causing Hand Fungus are Trichophyton interdigitale and Epidermophyton floccosum. There are also other species of fungi that may be transmitted to humans from pets or other animals or when the hand is in contact with the soil for long periods of time and is not washed properly. These fungi are:
- Microsporum canis: This type of fungi are found in dogs and cats and can be transmitted from them to humans.
- Trichophyton verrucosum: This type of fungi is found in cows or goat and may be transmitted from them to humans. People who breed cattle get Hand Fungus from this type of fungi.
- Microsporum gypseum: This type of fungi is present in soil and gets transmitted from there to humans.
What are the Risk Factors for Hand Fungus?
Some of the common risk factors for Hand Fungus are:
- An already existing fungal infection somewhere else in the body can lead to Hand Fungus if the individual persistently scratches the affected area.
- An individual is at risk to get Hand Fungus if the person is in close proximity or in constant contact with an individual who already has a fungal infection.
- Individual who have a condition called hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating are also at risk for developing Hand Fungus.
- Being in contact with pets regularly and breeding cattle is also one of the risk factors for developing Hand Fungus. This is true for people working in farms.
- Gardeners who are in constant contact with soil for prolonged periods of time are also at increased risk for developing Hand Fungus.
What are the Symptoms of Hand Fungus?
The classic presenting feature of Hand Fungus is an itchy rash on the hand, which may or may not involve the fingers. The rash will be dry and there will be peeling skin. The rashes will have raised borders and will be circular in shape. There may also be several blisters that may be present on the palm and the fingers that may discharge some fluid.
There will be itching and burning sensation caused by Hand Fungus, which may be severe at times. There will also be discoloration of the skin at the affected area. The discoloration is seen once the rash has healed off and may persist for a long period of time. Some of the symptoms of Hand Fungus may be similar to that of contact dermatitis or psoriasis.
How is Hand Fungus Diagnosed?
A visual inspection of the affected area and a history taking of the patient is good enough to confirm a diagnosis of Hand Fungus, although tests may be done to rule out other similar skin conditions that may be causing the symptoms. Some of the other tests that may be done to confirm the diagnosis of Hand Fungus may be analysis of the affected skin by scraping out some skin from the affected area. Fungal cultures may also be taken to identify, which species of fungi are responsible for Hand Fungus. In some cases, a skin biopsy may also be done to confirm the diagnosis of Hand Fungus.
How is Hand Fungus Treated?
The front line treatment for Hand Fungus is the use of antifungal medications. These medications will completely resolve the infection within a span of 6 weeks. These antifungal medications may be topical in the form of creams or lotions as well as oral medications which may be prescribed by the treating physician. Some of the topical antifungals preferred to treat Hand Fungus are clotrimazole, econazole, and butenafine while some of the oral antifungals are oral fluconazole or itraconazole. Some of the conditions which may predispose an individual to hand fungus like hyperhidrosis or sweaty palms need to be treated appropriately and effectively to prevent development of Hand Fungus.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Hand Fungus
Apart from the antifungals prescribed by the treating physician for treating Hand Fungus there are also some simple home remedies, which can be used to get rid of Hand Fungus. These home remedies are:
Tea Tree Oil: This has abundant antifungal properties and hence is an effective home remedy to treat Hand Fungus. All you need to do is soak the hands in a tub containing water mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil. You can do this twice a day until you get rid of Hand Fungus.
Hydrogen Peroxide: This is yet another effective home remedy to get rid of Hand Fungus. Soaking the hands in hydrogen peroxide tends to kill fungus effectively and gets rid of the hand fungus. The only thing which needs to be watched out for is that this solution makes the hands extremely dry and thus, a good moisturizer needs to be used once soaking the hands in hydrogen peroxide solution.
Apple Cider Vinegar: This is a home remedy which is effective in treating many ailments and Hand Fungus is no exception. Soaking the hands in a solution of Apple Cider Vinegar is an effective home remedy to treat Hand Fungus.
B-Complex Vitamins: Vitamin B is extremely good for a healthy skin and hence taking vitamin B supplements or foods rich in vitamin B is quite an effective remedy to treat Hand Fungus.
Fish Oil: Fish oil has antiinflammatory properties and helps reduce the inflammation caused by Hand Fungus and thus is an effective home remedy.