Fungus is also known as tinea.  The fungus can affect any skin surface, including hair-bearing areas like the scalp.  The most common types of fungus are tinea corporis (ringworm), tinea cruris (jock itch), and tinea pedis (athlete’s foot).  There are also other types of tinea, such as tinea capitus (affecting the scalp), tinea faciei (affecting the face), tinea manuum (affecting the palms).   Onychomycosis is fungus affecting the nails.  A kerion is a deep fungal infection of the skin that most often affects the scalp but can present in other areas of the body.  Tinea incognito is a term that is used for a fungal infection that is driven deeper into the skin by the misuse of topical corticosteroids.  We can often confirm a fungal infection from a simple skin scraping (KOH) in the office, culture, or clipping.

Where do we contract fungus? 

Many places!  We can pick up fungus in public places, like locker rooms, wrestling mats, fitness centers, and swimming pools, especially if walking around barefoot and not washing equipment.  We can also contract fungus by using the same footwear and towels of those who are already infected.  It is also possible to pick up fungus from the soil and by working with animals and livestock that are infected.

How can you prevent yourself from developing fungus? 

Avoid using other people’s shoes, socks, and towels.   Always wear something to protect your feet when in public places, including showers, as well as when outdoors.   Showering after using a wrestling mat.  Wear gloves when contacting animals and livestock.   Always disinfect gym equipment before and after you use it.

How can you treat fungus?

There are various over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal creams: butenafine hydrochloride, clotrimazole, miconazole nitrate, terbinafine hydrochloride, and tolnaftate.  If the fungus fails to respond to the OTCs, is recurrent, or is too extensive to use OTCs, there are various prescription options.  Prescriptions can range from topicals (creams, gels, foams, lotions) to oral antifungals.  Fortunately, here at our Dermatology office, we are experts in treating fungus of the skin!  So, if you suspect you have fungus or are struggling to treat your current fungus, give us a call so we can help!