Any of a group of common fungal infections of the skin, hair, or nails. Most are caused by fungi called dermatophytes. The infections may be acquired from another person, an animal, soil, the floors of showers, or from household objects, such as chairs or carpets. The most common type of tinea infection is tinea pedis ( athlete’s foot). Tinea corporis causes itchy, usually circular, patches on the body. Tinea cruris (jock itch) produces a reddened, itchy area spreading from the genitals over the inside of the thighs. Tinea capitis causes round, itchy, patches of hair loss on the scalp; it occurs mainly in children. Ringworm of the nails (tinea unguium) is often accompanied by scaling of the soles or palms. The nails become thick and turn white or yellow. Most types are diagnosed by appearance and by culturing the organisms in a laboratory. Treatment is usually with either topical or oral antifungal drugs.


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