Ring Worm of the Groins (Jock’s Itch)
(Medical Name: Tinea cruris)
It is an infective condition of the groins that is caused by fungi with a tendency to grow rapidly in hot, humid areas of the body especially the ones that are prone to repeated friction
1. Jock’s itch affects people of all age groups and has a worldwide distribution.
2. It is contagious as it can easily spread from one person to another. It can also spread by contact through infected animals and soil.
3. Once acquired by a person, the same individual can become source of auto infection to other body areas, nails as well as hairs.
4. It is commoner in tropical regions (hot and humid environment), the obese, diabetics, persons on medications that lower one’s resistance to infections (like steroids, anticancer treatment, debilitating conditions)
5. It is possible to prevent infection and to check its spread. There are several measures that help in early recovery and that can be performed at an individual level.
Prevention and Coping
1. Watch if you fall in one of the categories of vulnerable groups. Major risk factors are:
- Hot and humid climate or working conditions ( athletes, sportspersons, laundry workers, agricultural occupation, animal handlers, gardeners, working near furnaces, swimming pool workers, sewer workers, cooking and dishwashing)
- Treatment with resistance lowering medication like antibiotics or steroids
2. If you are obese or overweight, give a serious thought to weight management. If you are on medication that lowers body resistance, please consult your treating physician. In some cases, it may be advisable to change the profession.
3. Incorporate thorough cleaning and drying of the infection prone areas during and after every bath and more frequently if required. Carefully examine or get examined other areas of the body that are at risk to catch fungal infection and rule out any traces of infection that may occur in between the toes and fingers, sides and under the nail plates, between the buttocks, under breasts, and in the armpits.
4. Wear undergarments that fit you well but not too tightly and those that permit ventilation. If the said areas tend to sweat profusely, mop the area several times a day with a dry gauze piece or absorbent tissue paper. If needed, please use a blower at cold setting or expose the area to a fan until it becomes dry before you put on garments.
5. Abstain from heavy exercise or other strenuous work to minimize sweating.
6. Stay and work in well ventilated area. You can keep the kitchen windows open while working or use an exhaust fan, if feasible.
7. Break your jogging and physical activity routine into several short spells.
8. Stay away from foods and drinks that promote profuse sweating (beverages, spices)
9. Avoid working outdoors during midday as far as possible.
10. While sitting, use a chair that permits evaporation of sweat from areas where the former tends to accumulate (for example, on the buttocks and the back). Cane chairs are better than the rexine / leather chairs for this purpose. 11. Keep your legs slightly apart from the groin area downwards to permit ventilation rather than sitting cross-legged.
12. If ever you get the infection, do not use medicines of your own. Some of the preparations that are popular in the mass media may actually do more harm than good.
13. If you are already on medication, then follow all the measures listed above after consulting your physician to enhance the effect of treatment and take regular medication in the exact manner as prescribed by your attending physician. Please do not use powders or other agents unless specifically advised for you. It is possible to achieve visible relief while the infection is still active in some areas or in the deeper layers of the skin.
14. Jock’s itch is both preventable and curable. There is a lot that you can do yourself to help prevent/get rid of this embarrassing condition.
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Dr Vinay Kumar
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
+91-93 199 299 00
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