There’s a Fungus Among Us!

Eva Alessia, D.O.

Eva Alessia, D.O.

With the hot, humid summer upon us, kids are more susceptible to fungal infections especially “athletes foot” and ringworm. Here is a little more about the “fungus among us!”

Fungal infections of the feet are commonly known as “athlete’s foot.” The skin of the feet is red and scaly; sometimes the skin cracks, especially between the toes. It can be itchy and have an unpleasant odor. To prevent athlete’s foot, the feet should be as dry as possible. Dry feet thoroughly after taking a bath/shower, or coming out of the pool. Pay attention to in between the toes. Wear shoes and socks that can “breathe,” such as cotton socks, leather shoes or sandals.

Contrary to the name, ringworm is not caused by a worm. Ringworm is a fungal infection of the body. The fungus thrives on warm, moist skin.  It is a circular pink patch with a scaly, raised red edge or border. As the patch gets larger, the middle starts to “clear” and look more like the child’s usual skin tone. It can be itchy as well. Sometimes one can get ringworm from affected puppies or kittens.

Both can be contagious, either from direct skin-to-skin contact or a break, like a scratch, in the child’s skin coming in contact with a surface that has the fungus on it, such as a wrestling mat.feet

Both are treated with over the counter anti-fungal creams and lotions; the feet can be treated with anti-fungal powder also. Treatment is about four weeks. However, if the fungus is on the scalp or nails, creams or anything applied directly to the skin will not work. In those two instances, the child needs to take an anti-fungal medicine by mouth.

 

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