How to Prevent Jock Itch
Jock Itch is a common fungal infection affecting the skin of the groin. Even though it is not a disease dangerous to life, it is one of the most irritating conditions one can get into and can result in serious anxiety and even depression, if not managed in time. Understanding the problem and how and what of it can help a great deal in tolerating it with patience, while taking cures to get rid of it.
Here are some simple practical ways to prevent Jock Itch ...
Understanding Jock Itch
Jock Itch is a fungal infection of the groins, inner thigh and perineal area. It is caused by the dermatophyte group of fungus. Also called as Tinea cruris, Crotch itch or Crotch rot, the name Jock Itch reflects its higher incidence in people who work a lot like athletes.
Jock Itch results from fungal infection of warm and damp skin. The reason it is often seen in athletes is partly because of the perspiration and dampness of groins, and partly because of easy communicability of the fungus infection between athletes sharing the dormitory or towels and bathrooms. However, there is another factor that predisposes to Jock Itch, and that is a reduction in the immunity level that can result because of excessive stress, another disease or inadequate nutrition. Most of the prevention strategies revolve around these predisposing factors.
How to prevent Jock Itch
The first and perhaps the most important measure to prevent Jock Itch, is to maintain cleanliness and dryness of the vulnerable area, i.e.. groin and area surrounding areas. This can be achieved by many ways including use of antifungal or ordinary powder and properly drying the body after taking showers. These measures are more important when the climate is also warm and highly humid.
The second measure that can help is avoid contact with the fungus that causes Jock Itch. Certain dermatophytes are commensals, i.e.. they quietly live on the surface of the skin, and thrive on dead skin, without causing any problems for our health. These commensals actually help us by preventing other more dangerous bacteria and fungus from settling down on our skin. On the contrary, there are other varieties and types of fungus which are more pathogenic and cause the Jock Itch. One can get infected with these varieties by sharing of any common article (fomite) like towels and bed, or even by sharing of bathrooms, or by any other article that comes in contact with many persons. Avoiding such contact can reduces the chances of getting Jock Itch.
Thirdly, appropriate clothing can help in preventing Jock Itch. Using boxer underwears, or other loose cotton undergarments, especially at night helps in keeping the groin drier. The significance of cleanliness and hygiene is equally important with reference to clothing. Such simple measures can significantly reduce the chances of acquiring Jock Itch.
Lastly, Tinea has some association with falling immunity levels. Very often, people develop Jock Itch during periods of physical or mental stress. One of the most common causes of such temporary fall in body’s immunity that increase vulnerability to Jock Itch, is prolonged exertion and stress. Other causes are a bout of flu, inadequate nutrition over a few weeks, presence of any other illness or severe psychological stress. Taking care of these underlying conditions can save the body not only from Jock Itch, but also many other opportunistic infections.
How to Treat Jock Itch
In case, one does get Jock Itch, the treatment is simple, and consists of antifungals like Miconazole and Clotrimazole, usually available in combination with a topical steroid as skin ointment or cream, which can be applied locally on the affected area three times a day. Other anti-fungal agents available include Tolnaftate, Terbinafine, Econazole and Butenafine, which are also effective in treating Jock Itch.
While applying the treatment for Jock Itch, one must try to keep the area dry and clean as the infecting fungus - often called the ringworm, thrives best in presence of moisture and in the presence of organic residue.
The best insurance against all infections is our own immunity, which in turn depends on general good health and well being. So, take care of the nutrition and any other underlying disease or stress.
Last, but not the least, one must remember the most important principle of treating Jock Itch –the treatment should be continued for at least two weeks after the rash has completely disappeared, otherwise the Jock Itch may return after a while.
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© 2011 V Kumar
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