Tinea

Tinea is a highly-contagious fungal skin infection that affects the feet (athletes foot/tinea pedis), groin (jock itch), scalp, skin underneath the breasts, fingernails and toenails.

The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments and it can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or indirectly via clothing, towels, linens and floors.

Symptoms

The infections are not usually serious but can be uncomfortable and itchy. A red patch can appear and often this area will blister, crack, split, weep, flake and peel. Nails may develop a yellow or white discolouration and bald spots can appear on the scalp. Sometimes the infection can grow in a circular ring pattern – this is sometimes called ringworm, which is confusing because there is no worm involved.

Treatment

Keep the infected area dry and clean. Anti-fungal creams and tablets can be purchased from the chemist and supermarket, typically healing the infection within 4 weeks. Make sure you wash your hands after touching infected areas.

Prevention

Good hygiene can prevent tinea from recurring. Techniques to avoid a tinea infection include; drying skin thoroughly (particularly between toes, groin and under breasts), wearing thongs in public areas, exposing skin to as much air as possible and wearing cotton socks.

Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

Health Direct
Tinea

Fast facts:

Tinea

  • Tinea is a highly contagious fungal skin infection that thrives in warm, moist environments.
  • A red patch can appear and the skin can become uncomfortable and itchy.
  • Anti-fungal creams and tablets typically heal the infection within 4 weeks.

Last updated: 4th May, 2020