Tinea is a fungal infection caused by the dermatophytes Epidermophyton, Trichophyton and Microsporum. It affects the skin and nails, and may display different features, depending on the body part involved. Common among children, it is passed on to others by skin contact with infected humans or animals; long-haired cats and dogs are particularly susceptible. More widespread problems may be associated if the patient is immunosuppressed. Underlying conditions such as HIV or diabetes mellitus would need to be considered. Erythematous or scaling itchy, circular or oval plaques occur, which spread centrifugally and display central clearing. The diagnosis may be confirmed by taking a skin scraping for microscopy and culture. If a microscope is available, scrapings can be mixed with a solution of potassium hydroxide, which will show hyphae and spores if present. Unless close contact is expected, school exclusion is not necessary, providing the individual receives treatment. Pets should be checked by a vet and treated if found to be infected.
Tinea cruris (jock itch)
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