Dermatophytosis (tinea) infections are fungal infections caused by dermatophytes - a group of fungi that invade and grow in dead keratin of the skin, hair and nails. They tend to grow outwards on skin, producing a ring-like pattern - hence the term 'ringworm'. They are very common in warm and humid local environment. Here are 10 tips to prevent and treat fungal infections-

1. Avoid STEROID-containing creams

Many creams claiming to be anti-fungals actually contain STEROIDS that actually WORSEN the infection!  They make the fungus more resistant, recurrent and contagious. It may give temporary relief from itching and rashes. However, the infection returns within a few days of stopping these creams in a more severe form.

2. Complete the treatment given by dermatologists 

The treatment needs to be taken for minimum 04 weeks or longer. Stopping the treatment prematurely will lead to recurrence of the infection. Compliance is the key to successful treatment of fungal infections.

3. Apply the cream on 2-3 cms of normal skin in addition to the rash.

The amount of cream should be enough to cover the rash. Application of lot of cream does not produce faster results.

4. Daily wash and iron your clothes and undergarments.

Avoid mixing clothes and towels with others. Add anti-fungal shampoo to your laundry and iron all your clothes- the left out fungus gets killed! Most people have the habit of reusing clothes like jeans a few times before they wash. You keep getting the infection repeatedly though your unwashed clothes.

5. Avoid wearing tight clothes, jeans and shoes.

Sweat and dampness create ideal environment for the growth of the fungus.

6. Take daily baths with antifungal soaps. 

Once a day bath is enough. However, a shower is advisable after gyming or severe sweating.

7. Keep your nails short. 

Avoid using the same nail clipper for infected and uninfected nails.

8. Keep yourself dry 

Keep your feet, groins, underarms and buttocks dry and clean. These are most commonly affected because of dampness in these areas.

9. Antifungal soap and powders help in prevention of the infection. 

These may be continued after completion of treatment

10. Get your family treated.

Let your dermatologist know if any family member also has fungal infection and get them treated.