Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is hand fungus (tinea manuum)?
This medical condition is a contagious skin rash. It can develop between your fingers or on the palms of your hands, usually developing on just one hand. Because the rash is similar to eczema or psoriasis some people confuse hand fungus with both of these. The fungi that can cause hand fungus are genus dermatophytes.
Hand Fungus Symptoms
The symptoms of hand fungus are similar to athlete’s foot in which the rash may appear red and scabby. It may also burn or itch. There are different types of hand fungus, or tinea manuum, that a person can have, each with their own symptoms.
- Ringworm – the outer ridges of the circular rash associated with this type of hand fungus is usually raised with skin that looks normal in the middle of the circle. Over time they will become bigger unless treated.
- Touching infected objects or person-to-person contact – blisters will normally form on the palms of your hands and commonly itch and burn. These blisters may appear in clusters. They will ooze fluid or peel and can bleed if your skin becomes cracked or dry.
- Pityriasis nigra – with this type you will see spots of brown or black in color on your hands but they do not become scaly in texture nor do they move up.
Hand Fungus Causes
Although the general cause of a person developing hand fungus is from fungi found in the soil but the carriers of this medical condition will vary according to the type of hand fungus you have. Generally speaking it is transmitted by contact with a person who is infected with tinea manuum or spread by animals.
- Ringworm – this type of hand fungus is spread by animals, especially cats. It is commonly found in children who have frequent contact with animals or play in the dirt. Gardeners can also contract this type of hand fungus. It is also known as tinea corporis. This is the most common type of hand fungus that a person gets.
- You can also get hand fungus by touching objects that are infected with the fungi or from person-to-person contact with someone which is known as tinea manuum or tinea fungal virus.
- Pityriasis nigra – this is a rare form of hand fungus and is also known as tinea nigra.
A person can get hand fungus from horses, cattle, and other animals if the animals are infected with hand fungus. This can put ranchers and hunters at risk for getting a hand fungus.
Hand Fungus Treatment
Hand fungus, or tinea manuum, can be treated in a variety of ways but it is advisable to take precautions to prevent it from developing. One way to help prevent you from developing hand fungus is after hunting or working around farm animals you remove any sweaty clothing. The reason is that the type of fungi that causes hand fungus thrives in moist areas. If you have an open sore you need to make sure that you keep it covered because your skin is more susceptible to fungal spores at this time. These fungal spores find it easier to enter your skin through a wound or cut.
You should also make sure that you are drying your skin thoroughly after taking a shower or bath. In a humid climate you can use talc powder to keep your skin dry. You should also make sure that you are not sharing towels, gardening tools, clothing, or any other objects that are infected with the fungi. Any surfaces that are shared with a person who has a hand fungus should be kept clean and disinfected. You should also make sure that you are washing your hands frequently.
To treat hand fungus your physician will have you treat it with an over-the-counter antifungal ointment or cream but if these do not seem to be helping your physician may give you a prescription for a stronger antifungal medication. It can take approximately thirty days before you are no longer considered contagious and for the rash to completely heal. If you have a severe rash that penetrates deep into your skin you may be given a prescription for oral medications. If the rash should become infected your physician may give use a prescription for antibiotics to be used along with the antifungal medications.
When using an antifungal cream or ointment, whether it is an over-the-counter or prescription medication you need to make sure that you are using the ointment or cream for the entire time that your physician recommends. If you find that you are still suffering from any of the symptoms you should see your physician to be re-examined. If your physician or dermatologist cannot treat your condition they may recommend you see a disease specialist to be treated.
There are also home remedies that you can use if you have hand fungus which can include:
- Hydrogen peroxide – soak your hands in hydrogen peroxide are thought to kill the fungi effectively but the one side effect of this treatment is that it dries your hands out. After doing this treatment you should use a good moisturizer on your hands.
- Vinegar – soaking your hands in vinegar, apple cider or white, can help to control your fungal infection.
- Tea tree oil – this type of oil is thought to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties so soaking in a basin of water to which you have added a few drops of tea tree oil will help to relieve any discomfort that is associated with hand fungus.
Even if you use any of these home remedies you should still use an antifungal cream or ointment because you are still contagious until the rash has healed completely.
Hand Fungus Pictures
Collection of pictures of hand fungus…