Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis

Tinea corporis is a common superficial skin infection caused by a fungus. Although frequently called ringworm, it is actually caused by a very common fungus. This minor skin infection occurs worldwide and is usually transmitted by contact from infected humans and animals, as well as from clothing, towels, or anywhere the fungus may come to rest, such as showers. Tinea corporis is usually diagnosed on visual inspection, but occasionally a microscopic analysis or culture may be helpful. It is usually cured with 2–4 weeks of treatment.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Involved areas on the skin are well-defined, slightly raised, somewhat circular patches. They are usually red or discolored and have a central clearing. There can be scaling or small blisters present. Itching is common. Scratching can cause swelling, weeping, and secondary infection. Scratching can also cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body.

Apply a topical antifungal cream or ointment available without a prescription from any pharmacy, or use the medication prescribed by your doctor. Creams should be continued for 7 days after the area has cleared to prevent recurrence. Treat all affected areas no matter how small, even those that may have just started. If you have been prescribed medication to take orally, be certain to complete the entire course of therapy.

The DOs
• Keep all affected areas clean and dry.
• Wash and dry off, then apply cream.
• Wash towels and bedding more frequently while infected with tinea corporis.
• Check pets for infection. If frequent scratching or abnormal-appearing skin or hair loss exists, consult your veterinarian.
• Wear cotton clothing. Change clothing frequently to prevent skin from becoming damp or moist.
• Periodically inspect skin for early recurrences and treat promptly.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t share bath towels.
• Don’t wear nylon or synthetic clothing over affected areas because this keeps moisture in contact with the skin.
• Avoid wearing clothing that chafes the skin.
• Avoid direct contact with individuals with tinea corporis.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If the rash is not improved after 1–2 weeks of treatment.
• If any signs of a secondary infection exist, such as fever, pus drainage,oozing, crusting, or swelling.
• If any scarring or bleeding occur.