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Friday, December 15, 2006

Tiny Threats to Hair, Skin, and Nails in Diabetes

Anyone can get a ringworm infection (called Tinea in medicine), but people with diabetes are especially susceptible. The term ringworm is misleading, because Tinea, the causative organism, is a fungus, and not a ‘worm!’

Ringworm attacks the scalp, groin, and toe nails. It can also spread to skin on other parts of the body. Victims spread the infection from one part of their bodies to others, when they scratch infections with finger nails.

Tinea also spreads from one person to another through bed and bath linen.

A physician will look for ringworm infection during physical examination, and can treat it effectively through a range of anti-fungal prescription medicines. However, everyone can take a few simples steps to keep Tinea at bay, and these will suffice for people with diabetes as well.

Here are some steps to prevent ringworm infections:

1. Enjoy frequent pedicures, keeping toenails short and clean.

2. Avoid sharing bed and bath linen with unknown people who may be infected.

3. Keep skin dry-all fungi thrive in moist conditions.

4. Avoid contact with pets, because Tinea affects them as well.

5. See your physician promptly if your scalp, groin, or skin over other parts of the body itches unduly, or if toe nails change color.

6. Keep scalps clean, using shampoo at least every week.

7. Observe strict genital hygiene, keeping the groin dry, and changing innerwear frequently.

8. Do not walk with bare feet over wet and unclean surfaces, especially in public places.

9. Do not use footwear which belongs to unknown people who may be infected.

10. Isolate any area affected by ringworm, making sure that infection does not spread from an affected region to other parts of your body through your finger nails, or to other people who may share linen with you. Your doctor can show you how to recognize ringworm, because it derives its name from the characteristic circular patches it causes on skin.

Though Tinea is easy to recognize, and to treat as well, it can keep coming back periodically, if you have diabetes, and are exposed to fresh infections.


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