Tinea corporis

Definition

Tinea corporis is a skin infection due to fungi. It is also called ringworm of the body.

Related skin fungus infections may be found:

 

Alternative Names

Fungal infection - body; Infection - fungal - body; Tinea of the body; Tinea circinata; Ringworm - body

Causes

Fungi are germs that can live on the dead tissue of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers. Tinea corporis is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes.

Tinea corporis is common in children but can occur in people of all ages.

Fungi do well in warm, moist areas. A tinea infection is more likely if you:

Tinea corporis can spread easily.You can catch it if you come into direct contact with an area of ringworm on someone's body. You can also get it by touching items that have the fungi on them, such as:

Ringworm can also be spread by pets. (Cats are common carriers.)

Symptoms

The rash begins as a small area of red, raised spots and pimples. The rash slowly becomes ring-shaped, with a red-colored, raised border and a clearer center. The border may look scaly.

The rash may occur on the arms, legs, face, or other exposed body areas.

Symptoms may include itching.

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider can often diagnose tinea corporis by looking at your skin. 

You may also need the following tests:

Treatment

Keep your skin clean and dry.

Use creams that treat fungus infections.

To use this medicine:

Rarely, you may need medicine you take by mouth if your infection is very bad. 

A child with ringworm can return to school once treatment has started.

To prevent the infection from spreading:

Infected pets should also be treated.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Ringworm often goes away within 4 weeks when using antifungal creams. The infection may spread to the feet, scalp, groin, or nails. 

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if ringworm does not get better with self-care.

References

Elewski BE, Hughey LC, Sobera JO, et al. Fungal Diseases. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 77.

Hay RJ. Dermatophytosis and other superficial mycoses. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier;2009:chap 267.


Review Date: 11/20/2012
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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