What's That Rash?

When cold weather ushers in dry, red, itchy skin, you probably feel like an unlucky contestant on a rash-guessing quiz show: Is it dry skin...or some exotic flesh-eating bacteria you heard about on the news?

Credit: Phototakeusa.com

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Looks like: Red, scaly patches with distinct edges that can resemble a ring. Sometimes the patches blister and ooze.
Caused by: Not a worm, despite the name. The culprit is a tenacious little fungus called tinea that thrives in warm, moist areas.
Feels: Very itchy.
Where: Anywhere, but often in warm, cozy areas like skin folds or on the scalp.
Contagious: Yes, it's spread though through direct skin-to-skin contact or with personal items such as towels, and on locker room and pool surfaces. You can also catch it from pets.
Treatment: Over-the-counter antifungal creams that contain miconazole or clotrimazole. Continue to use them for one to two weeks after the rash has cleared to prevent reinfection, and wash sheets every day.
See a doctor if: The infection won’t clear up. Your doctor may give you a prescription topical lotion or antifungal pills.

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