Tinea in Emergency Medicine Treatment & Management

Updated: Apr 27, 2021
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Emergency Department Care

Certain forms of tinea can easily be identified and treated with antifungals in the emergency department. However, the diagnosis should probably be confirmed with a potassium hydroxide smear and/or cultures.

A common practice that is highly discouraged is the prescribing of combined steroid/antifungal creams.

It is important that the evaluating physician be aware of the possible presence of superinfection. This is known as the dermatophytosis complex. In the dermatophytosis complex presentation, inflammation, maceration, and odor may be present with bacterial involvement.

It is imperative to also recognize comorbidities that may increase the healing time or depress host immune response. These comorbidities may include age, diabetes, or immunodeficient status (eg, HIV infection or chronic immunosuppressive use). Defining the relationship between comorbidities and dermatophytosis is complex, since complications of these conditions in themselves, including peripheral vascular disease, could also contribute to persistent infection.



A dermatologist may be consulted. Outpatient phototherapy protocols have been developed for chronic situations in which oral medications are not tolerated.



Deterrence and prevention of tinea infection includes the following:

  • Practice proper hygiene.

  • Avoid contact with suspicious lesions.