Ringworm, Athlete’s Foot & “Jock Itch”
Are you itching for some football? With the beginning of school and the start of fall, the sports season is upon us! Whether it’s football, soccer, cross country running, or another, all have their share of blood, sweat and tears.sweating.
“It’s the sweat that can do it,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified dermatologist in Austin, Texas. Dr. Hanson is referring to Dermatophystosis, a fungal infection of the skin more commonly known as Ringworm, Athlete’s foot or Jock Itch. “The sweating and chaffing that many athletes get on their skin makes the perfect environment for these infections to take hold.” Although it is rather obnoxious, this skin condition does not require excessive treatment and is often cured at home.
What is Dermatophytosis?
Dermatophytosis represents a fungal infection in the outer layer of skin. These dermatophytes tend to make their home in places that are warm and moist, which is usually the groin, buttocks, thighs or other skin folds. “Dermatophytosis causes the affected area to become red and raised, and often spreading outwards in rings,” states Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board-certified Dermatologist in Austin, Texas. “These distinctive rings are the reason why this infection is commonly referred to as ringworm.” Dermatophytosis is also linked with other fungal infections like Tinea capitis and Toenail fungus (onychomycosis).
How Do You Get The Infection?
While ringworm is commonly found in children, Jock Itch, Athletes Foot and toe infections tend to be found in teen to adult-age men and women as well. “The fungus usually lives in soil or on animals. However, public showers and locker rooms are known for being a good breeding ground for the fungi that causes these type of infections as well,” informs Dr. Mamelak. It can also be obtained from swimming pools, tanning beds, and the sharing of sports equipment.
How to Avoid Ringworm
The best way to avoid ringworm and its relatives is to maintain a good hygienic routine. This includes showering consistently after excessive sweating and athletic activity, not sharing sports equipment or towels, and wearing flip flops or shower shoes when using a public shower. Also, make sure that you are consistently washing sheets, towels, and clothing that may come into contact with sweat, as this can be a host for the fungus that causes ringworm.