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Fungal Infections of the Skin

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Jock Itch

Jock itch, also called tinea cruris, is a common skin infection that is caused by a type of fungus called tinea. The fungus thrives in warm, moist areas of the body and as a result, infection can affect the genitals, inner thighs, and buttocks. Infections occur more frequently in the summer or in warm, wet climates.

Jock itch appears as a red, itchy rash that is often ring-shaped.

Is Jock Itch Contagious?

Jock itch is only mildly contagious. The condition can be spread from person to person through direct contact or indirectly from objects carrying the fungus.

What Are the Symptoms of Jock Itch?

Symptoms of jock itch include: 

  • Itching, chafing, or burning in the groin or thigh
  • A circular, red, raised rash with elevated edges
  • Redness in the groin or thigh
  • Flaking, peeling, or cracking skin

How Is Jock Itch Diagnosed?

In most cases, jock itch can be diagnosed based on the appearance and location of the rash. If you are not certain that the condition is jock itch, contact your doctor. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and will perform a physical exam. A microscopic exam of the scales of skin can confirm the diagnosis.

How Is Jock Itch Treated?

In most cases, treatment of jock itch involves keeping the affected area clean and dry and applying topical antifungal medications. Jock itch usually responds to over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays. However, prescription antifungal creams are sometimes necessary. During treatment of jock itch, be sure to: 

  • Wash and dry the affected area with a clean towel
  • Apply the antifungal cream, powder, or spray as directed
  • Change clothes -- especially underwear -- everyday

Ringworm

Ringworm, also called tinea corporis, is not a worm, but a fungal infection of the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body and it looks like a circular, red, flat sore. It is often accompanied by scaly skin. The outer part of the sore can be raised while the skin in the middle appears normal. Ringworm can be unsightly, but it is usually not a serious condition.

Is Ringworm Contagious?

Ringworm can spread by direct contact with infected people or animals. It also may be spread on clothing or furniture. Heat and humidity may help to spread the infection.

What Are the Symptoms of Ringworm?

Ringworm appears as a red, circular, flat sore that is sometimes accompanied by scaly skin. There may be more than one patch of ringworm on the skin, and patches or red rings of rash may overlap. It is possible to have ringworm without having the common red ring of rash.

How Is Ringworm Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose ringworm based on the appearance of the rash or reported symptoms. He or she will ask about possible exposure to people or animals with ringworm. The doctor may take skin scrapings or samples from the infected area and look at them under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.

WebMD Medical Reference

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