Dr Vandana Kataria (Senior resident, Department of Dermatology; Maulana Azad medical college & LNH)


What is the most important way to prevent the spread of skin infections?

Hand washing (hand hygiene) is the most important way to prevent the spread of skin infections in any setting.

To wash your hands properly:

  • Wet your hands with clean water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  • Rub hands together to make lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice).
  • Rinse hands well with clean water.
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
  • If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.

If soap and water are not available and your hands are not visibly dirty, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or greater) if permitted by your school or athletic club. If alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not allowed or are unavailable, hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may also be useful.

To use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Apply product to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.

a) Fungal Skin Infection: Ringworm (Tinea)

Ringworm is a common, contagious skin infection. Ringworm is NOT caused by a worm.

It is caused by a  type of fungus called a dermatophyte.Dermatophytes also cause other common  skin, hair, and nail infections, including athlete’s foot and jock itch.


How does ringworm spread?

  • The dermatophyte that causes ringworm can be passed from person to person by direct skin-to-skin contact or by contact with contaminated items such as combs, unwashed clothing, and shower surfaces.
  • Some pets (including cats and dogs) and livestock (such as cows, goats, horses, and pigs) can carry the fungus and transmit it to people.
  • Because dermatophytes thrive in warm, moist areas, athletes are at risk for ringworm because they are likely to sweat and be around others who are sweating. This is why prevention is so important.

What are the symptoms of ringworm?

  • Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze.
  • Sharply-defined edges in the shape of a circle or a ring.
  • Often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center.
  • Skin may appear unusually dark or light.
  • Bald patches on scalp.
  • Finger and toenails that are discolored, thick, or crumble.



  1. b) SCABIES
  • Human scabies is caused by an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite. Adult female itch mites burrow into the upper layer of the skin where they live and deposit their eggs.


  • The mites are almost always transmitted by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact.


  • An infested person can spread scabies even if they have no symptoms. Animals do not spread scabies to humans.




  • Symptoms include, pimple-like irritations, burrows or rashes, on a person’s skin, webbing between fingers, skin folds on wrists, elbows, knees, breasts, shoulder blades, or penis.
  • Intense itching at night is one of the earliest symptoms.
  • It is important to remember that the first time someone gets infested they usually have no symptoms for the first two to six weeks. However they can still spread the infestation during that time period.


  • Products used to treat scabies are called scabicides because they kill scabies mites; some also kill mite eggs. Scabicides used to treat human scabies are available only with a doctor’s prescription.
  • Bedding, clothing, and towels used by infested persons or their household, sexual and close contacts anytime during the three days before treatment should be decontaminated by washing in hot water and drying in a hot dryer, by dry-cleaning, or by sealing in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours. Scabies mites generally do not survive more than 2 to 3 days away from human skin.
  • Treatment should be given to both the infested person and to household members and sexual contacts, particularly those who have had prolonged direct skin-to-skin contact with the infested person. Everyone should be treated at the same time to prevent re-infestation.


  • Avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with an infested person or with items such as clothing or bedding used by an infested person
  • Regular ironing of clothes