Trichophyton refers to a group of fungi that can infect humans, animals, and soil. There are a multitude of different fungal species that are classified within the genus trichophyton. There are, however, only a few of these that actually infect humans. These fungi feed on keratin — a protein found in the skin. As a result, they cause a variety of ailments, including athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, fungal nail infection, tinea barbae, tinea capitis, and majocchi granuloma.
The specific fungus that most commonly causes athlete’s foot is called trichophyton rubrum. These fungi thrive in areas that are warm and moist. They can grow in socks, shoes, wet floors, and other soggy environments.
These fungi feed on keratin in the skin. When trichophyton begins to reproduce on the skin, it changes the skin’s texture and causes blisters, flaking, and itching. Different types can cause a variety of symptoms. For example, trichophyton mentagrophytes will generally cause inflammatory lesions in the nails, skin, or scalp. All species are considered to be dermatophytes, meaning they require the nutrients in skin for growth.
A trichophyton infection can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including inflammation, itching, pain, foul odors, blisters, and other dermatological conditions. Some people are more susceptible to dermal fungal infections than others. Certain conditions, however, can serve as catalysts for the infections. People who suffer from irritated skin, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and other skin disorders may be particularly vulnerable to fungal infections. Some animals can transmit certain species of trichophyton to humans.
When trichophyton causes ringworm, it presents as an uncomfortable infection that manifests as large, raised rashes and lesions on the skin. There are a variety of topical and oral pharmaceuticals that can treat these types of infections. A doctor typically will recommend or prescribe topical antifungals to treat this fungus. Some of the most common antifungals include terbinafine, ketoconazole, clotrimazole, and miconazole. A physician might also recommend taking oral medications to treat the fungus.
The most effective way to prevent these fungal infections is to keep the skin dry and practice good hygiene. If a person plays sports, then he or she typically should make sure that he or she frequently changes clothes. The same sweaty socks should not be worn over and over. Hands typically need to be washed regularly as well.