Tinea corporis is a fungal infection of the skin on the body including the extremities excluding the hands and feet. The infection is caused by filamentous fungi and is symptomatically accompanied by reddening of the skin or pustules with severe itching. More than 30 species of filamentous fungi are known to cause tinea corporis in humans.
What is tinea corporis?
Tinea corporis is a fungal disease of the skin of the body, which includes the extremities other than hands and feet. Symptomatic are localized reddening of the skin or even pustules filled with tissue fluid or pus. Typically, the infected areas of skin produce severe itching. For insertion tendopathy dictionary definitions, please visit foodanddrinkjournal.com.
Tinea corporis is one of the most common skin diseases that can take a mild or acute course, depending on the pathogen and the condition of the immune system. In many cases there is a chronic infection with only mild symptoms. Skin fungi, also known as dermatophytes, are aerobic and heterotrophic, which means that their metabolism depends on oxygen and organic substances for nutrition.
A common feature of skin fungi is their ability to break down and metabolize keratin from dead skin cells. They have the enzyme keratinase, which in principle is also able to break down other proteins such as collagen and elastin. Dermatophytes that can be infectious for humans can be divided into anthropophilic, zoophilic and geophilic pathogens in terms of their “preferences”.
While the anthropophilic species specialize in infecting human skin, the zoophilic species infect animals, including pets. However, zoophilic dermatophytes can also affect humans. The geophilous species are found almost everywhere in the soil and are only exceptionally pathological for humans.
Tinea corporis is caused by pathogenic filamentous fungi that belong to the skin fungi or dermatophytes. More than 30 types of filamentous fungi are known that can lead to typical fungal infections in human skin. Since pathogenic skin fungi or their spores are almost ubiquitous, an infection that leads to the development of tinea corporis is favored by a weakened immune system.
For example, diabetes mellitus, an immune system weakened by HIV or artificially suppressed by drugs to suppress rejection reactions are increased risk factors. The disease can be transmitted through direct skin contact or through contact with shared objects such as towels or washcloths, as well as through surfaces in the sanitary area.
Frequent sources of infection are also public sauna areas or swimming pools, since the skin fungi prefer warmth and moisture. Infections are therefore particularly stubborn on parts of the body that are usually warm and moist, such as between the toes. Infection with zoophilic dermatophytes can also occur through direct physical contact with infected pets such as dogs, cats or hamsters.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Small round spots on the skin with a diameter of one to two centimeters are initially symptomatic of tinea corporis. Characteristic, but not mandatory, is an accentuated edge of the spots and itching, which can be severe. In the case of deeper infections, symptoms of inflammation can also appear.
In the case of infections with anthropophilic dermatophytes adapted to humans, the symptoms that occur are usually mild, so that they are often hardly noticed and a chronic skin fungal disease can develop due to non-treatment. Deeper fungal infections can also be accompanied by painful inflammatory reactions.
A special form is the so-called tinea corporis gladiatorum, also known as mat burn, which mainly affects martial artists who practice their sport on floor mats and who can suffer minor abrasions when throwing or falling on a mat, into which certain filamentous fungi penetrate and trigger the mat burn.
Diagnosis & course of disease
The typical symptoms, including itching, that seem to indicate tinea corporis can also have other causes such as psoriasis, dry eczema and others. In order to rule out a confusion of causes, a smear of the affected skin area is examined under the light microscope.
If it becomes necessary to identify the exact type of filamentous fungus, a skin swab can be cultured on various culture media. However, the process can take several weeks. An examination using Wood’s light, also known as black light, can also provide information.
The black light in the UV range with a wavelength of up to 365 nanometers causes skin areas that are affected by certain dermatophytes to glow green-yellowish. A genetic examination of the fungal DNA for the precise identification of the fungal species is also possible.
If left untreated, tinea corporis can cause a number of severe skin irritations. There is severe pain, itching and redness, which those affected find extremely uncomfortable. Occasionally bleeding occurs. In addition, painful blisters and pustules form over the course of the disease, which can become inflamed. In the further course, the fungal infection spreads to other regions of the body.
The result is scales, papules and sometimes painful abscesses. Tinea corporis can also have long-term psychological effects. Patients often suffer from inferiority complexes and depressive moods. When treated with antifungal drugs, side effects such as nausea, vomiting or headaches can occur. Fever and chills as well as kidney and liver damage can also occur in rare cases.
The preparation can harm the child in pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding. In addition, allergies or intolerances can occur that require further treatment. Improperly used home and natural remedies can also cause symptoms and possibly worsen tinea corporis. It is therefore advisable to discuss the treatment of a fungal infection of the skin with your family doctor or a specialist beforehand.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of tinea corporis, the person affected is dependent on medical examination and treatment in any case. This is the only way to prevent the symptoms from getting worse, and further complications can also occur if the disease is not treated. Therefore, in the case of tinea corporis, a doctor should be contacted as soon as the first symptoms or complaints appear. Self-healing is usually not possible with this disease.
The doctor should be consulted for tinea corporis if the affected person suffers from severe itching on the skin. In most cases, the skin is covered in patches, but infection or inflammation can also occur on the skin itself. If these symptoms occur, the person concerned must consult a doctor in any case. As a rule, tinea corporis also leads to a significant reduction in aesthetics, so that psychological upsets or depression can also occur. In this case, a psychologist should be consulted. Tinea corporis symptoms are treated by a dermatologist.
Treatment & Therapy
In principle, topical and systemic and a combination of both types of therapy are available for the treatment of tinea corporis. Topical therapy involves treating the fungal infection locally with antifungal creams or ointments, tinctures, or powders. Most antifungal drugs aim to inhibit ergosterol, which is an important and necessary component of fungal cell membranes.
If topical treatment does not work because many parts of the body are affected, systemic treatment by oral intake of certain medications with antifungal agents is also possible. However, interactions with other medications and possible side effects must be considered. In principle, therapies should be continued three to four weeks after the symptoms have subsided in order to prevent the fungal infection from flaring up again (recurrence).
The most important way to avoid tinea corporis is to have an intact immune system. If the immune system cannot work optimally due to other diseases or due to artificial immunosuppression or unfavorable living conditions, typical sources of infection such as public baths and saunas should only be entered with flip-flops and thorough drying after showering. Breathable clothing is also a preventive measure. Towels and textiles should be washed at 90 degrees to safely kill any fungi and spores.
In most cases, those affected with tinea corporis have only limited or very few direct follow-up measures available. For this reason, the affected person should consult a doctor early on to prevent the occurrence of other complications and symptoms. It is also not possible to heal on its own, so a doctor should be consulted at the first signs and symptoms of the disease.
Most of those affected are usually dependent on taking various medications to alleviate or limit the symptoms. Care should always be taken to ensure that it is taken regularly and that the dosage is correct. Should there be any ambiguities or questions, a doctor must always be consulted first.
The doctor should also be contacted if there are changes or complaints on the skin. The life expectancy of those affected is usually not reduced. In some cases, contact with other patients with the disease can also be useful, as this leads to an exchange of information.
You can do that yourself
In addition to drug treatment, those affected can use other simple home remedies to support them: The top priority here is to keep the affected skin areas dry to prevent the fungus from spreading. In addition to a sufficient air supply for the skin, infected areas can be powdered with healing earth or baking soda. Due to the additional care substances and oils contained, conventional cosmetic powders and baby powders are not recommended here.
Apple cider vinegar has also been used for a long time as an old remedy for fungal infections. Those affected can dab the affected areas several times a day with a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar. Tea tree oil and Australian Manuka honey are used in a similar way. Like apple cider vinegar, these products are also said to have an antifungal, i.e. fungicidal, effect. However, all these funds should not be used if an antifungal ointment is applied to the skin at the same time.
Again and again, warm, moist wraps that have been soaked in sage or chamomile decoction beforehand are recommended as home remedies. The extracts from sage and chamomile are said to have a disinfecting and fungicidal effect. However, since the dark, damp environment under the wrap provides ideal growth conditions for fungi, it is better to resort to other forms of self-therapy.