Tinea manuum is also known as the hand fungus which is responsible for the fungal infection on hands. It is caused by a sort of fungi known as the dermatophyte. This infection is known to be superficial as it only spreads on the outer layer of the human skin. Like the other extremities of fungal infection like tinea pedis which occurs in the feet and tinea unguium which happens in nails, this infection is quite uncommon. It is often referred to ringworm as the infection forms a round or oval rash which does not clearly prove it to be tinea manuum. But the infection is known to be quite similar to athlete’s foot or tinea pedis and body ringworm or tinea corporis.
Occurring of the fungal infection on hands
The dead skin cells form the outer layers of the skin are rich in keratin which is a form of protein. Hence, the outer skin becomes tough which in turn protects the delicate environment of the inner layers. Healthy skin withstands the microbial attacks and also heals quickly when it is raptured. But various types of infections can invade the unhealthy skin. The outermost layers of the skin are invaded by the dermatophytes causing the superficial infections. Dermatophytes digest the protein of the skin with their special enzymes or keratinases which allow the fungus to get established on the skin. This keeps on growing with time and can be passed from one person to the other. It can also get passed on to the humans from soils and animals. A hand fungus generally arises if it is in contact with the dermatophyte infection somewhere else in the body. As the ringworm rash gets constantly scratched, the fungus easily gets transferred to the hands leading to the fungal infection on hands.
Causes of the hand fungus :
– Trichophyton interdigitale
– Trichophyton rubrum (this is mostly responsible for the fungal infections that occur on human skin).
– Epidermophyton floccosum
These are the types of the anthropophilic fungi which affects the human skin. The other types of fungi can also get transmitted through hands when it comes in contact with animals (zoophilic fungi) and soil (geophilic fungi). A short general classification:
– Microsporum Canis – gets transmitted while the skin comes in contact with dogs and cats.
– Trichophyton verrucosum – gets transmitted when the skin contacts the cattle.
– Microsporum gypseum – gets transmitted when the skin comes in contact with the soil.
The geophilic mold is another sort of fungus which is known to cause the tinea nigra and leads to affect the hands. This infection is also known to affect the soles and causes black and brown patches on the soles and palms. This is caused by a different type of fungi and is therefore not confused with the hand fungus.
What are the risk factors?
Though a hand fungus can occur anytime. It is more likely to occur from:
– Any dermatophyte infection somewhere else in the body and that which is pre-existing.
– A person who suffers from hyperhidrosis and has different other skin diseases.
– Having close contact with a fungal infection.
– Having regular contact with the pets (general cause in children).
– Handling of livestock and particularly soil and cattle.
– Gardeners and manual laborers who have constant contact with contaminated soil.
Symptoms of tinea manuum
It occurs to be an itchy rash on the skin of the hand which can get spread to the fingers also. Some of the common characteristics of the itchy rash include:
– The rash has red borders which are a bit raised, and the middle of the rash is seated making it look like a ring, and this is more common with the geophilic and the zoophilic fungi.
– Skin affected by the anthropophilic fungi appears to be dry and peeling.
– Sometimes tiny blisters may appear on the side of the fingers and also palm, and sometimes they might be oozing.
– The sensation of itching and burning may have a varied intensity.
– After the healing of the rash which has been existing for a long period, the skin gets discolored. Besides tinea nigra causes black and dark brown patches on the soles and palms.
This infection can be present with many other types of skin infections of the hand like allergies, psoriasis, and pompholyx. Many times the infection arises in a secondary case after the diseased skin leaves it prone and open to infections.
Diagnosis of the hand fungus
Diagnosis for the hand fungus should be done in the early stages so as to follow the proper treatment of the same. Diagnostic investigations for the dermatophyte infections usually involve fungal cultures, skin scrapings as well as a biopsy. The two feet-one hand syndrome shows that the skin rash is of fungal origin. In this instance, both the feet may suffer from tinea pedis, and one hand may suffer from tinea manuum. The hand is mainly the one which is used for scratching the rash of the feet.
Treating the hand fungus
For treating the dermatophyte infections entirely, one should always consult a doctor as they will be the ones to provide the patients with the correct stream of treatments which would cure it completely. They usually provide the patients with antifungal medication which helps in eradicating the fungi completely by six weeks as the infection is known to be curative. At times, the treatment may involve both the use of the topical as well as the oral antifungals. The topical antifungals are applied in the form of gels and ointments, and they have clotrimazole, terbinafine, econazole, ciclopirox, and butenafine. Besides, the oral antifungals are given to patients in the form of tablets and capsules, and they consist of fluconazole, terbinafine, itraconazole and griseofulvin.
The conditions of hand dermatitis and sweaty palm should be started with an early treatment. So, they can be managed effectively. The hand is the most active part of the body and is in constant touch with people, animals, and objects which make it prone to various infections. If the underlying conditions are not treated at the right time, the fungal infections on hand may recur.