Cutaneous mycoses extend deeper into the epidermis , and also include invasive hair and nail diseases . These diseases are restricted to the keratinized layers of the skin, hair, and nails. Unlike the superficial mycoses, host immune responses may be evoked resulting in pathologic changes expressed in the deeper layers of the skin. The organisms that cause these diseases are called dermatophytes . The resulting diseases are often called ringworm (even though there is no worm involved) or tinea . Cutaneous mycoses are caused by Microsporum , Trichophyton , and Epidermophyton fungi, which together comprise 41 species.
Treatment may be offered if fungi or fungal spores are detected, to prevent the disease from 'taking hold' or from spreading to others. For example, some people found to have a heavy growth or high spore count may be advised to take a course of antifungal tablets. Others with a low count may be treated with just an antifungal shampoo or cream. But note : this measure is for close contacts, such as brothers and sisters. Screening in schools where an affected child attends is not usually needed. However, if more than two children in a class are infected, the rest of the class may be screened by scalp brushing (after parental consent).
Studies suggest that in about 1 in 4 cases where the infection has been cleared from the nail, the infection returns within three years. One way to help prevent a further bout of nail infection is to treat athlete's foot (tinea pedis) as early as possible to stop the infection spreading to the nail. Athlete's foot is common and may recur from time to time. It is easy to treat with an antifungal cream which you can buy from pharmacies, or obtain on prescription. The first sign of athlete's foot is itchy and scaling skin between the toes. See separate leaflet called Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis) for more details . Also: