Tinea is a highly-contagious fungal skin infection that affects the feet (athletes foot), 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.


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 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.


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. Good hygiene can prevent tinea from recurring.

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Last updated: 16th January, 2019