Fungal infections (mycoses) are not uncommon in childhood. Kids bring them from kindergarten, sandbox, school and various circles. Mycoses account for up to 40% of all visits to a dermatologist. It would seem that a fungal infection is not such a terrible disease and, as a maximum, it will end with a deformation of the nail or a slight itching of the skin.

However, few people know that if the problem is not treated in time, serious complications can arise. For example, rubrophytosis provokes the development of allergic reactions, reduces the activity of the immune system and can lead to damage to internal organs.

The fungus is to blame

Rubrophytosis is a disease that affects the skin of the feet, inguinal folds, hands, as well as the nail plate. Its causative agent is the fungus Trichophyton rubrum . It multiplies by dividing cells, affecting exclusively the upper keratinized layers of the skin.

In 2020, scientists from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy named. Juliu Hatieganu was presented a study on the prevalence of fungal pathogens.  

They analyzed over 350 samples from 322 patients. Trichophyton rubrum was found in 69.8% of patients, and less often Microsporum canis and Candida were found much less frequently.  

Rubromycosis is a very contagious disease: you can pick up the fungus through contact with a sick person or using common household items. That is why children are often infected in kindergarten or school.   

Other factors that increase susceptibility to infection include:

  • wearing tight shoes and clothing made of synthetic fabrics;
  • non-observance of hygiene rules (especially in public places – baths, saunas, swimming pools, etc.);
  • recently transferred ARVI, flu and childhood infections;
  • long-term use of antibiotics and cytostatics ;  
  • congenital or acquired immunodeficiency;
  • diabetes;
  • obesity.

Rubrophytic symptoms: what to look for?

The disease develops gradually: not all parents immediately notice changes in the child’s skin or nail plates. After the incubation period ends (its duration reaches several months), all the nail plates are simultaneously affected.

With rubrophytosis, the nails begin to crumble, deform, yellow-brown stripes appear on them. Sometimes there are cases of complete rejection of the plate: this distinguishes rubrophytosis from some other fungal diseases.

Examination of the child’s feet reveals dry, edematous and reddened skin. The grooves and pattern become clearer and more pronounced. After a while, profuse peeling appears, which intensifies after taking a shower or bath. In children, painful erosions form at the site of redness – wounds with serous discharge, which are often injured.

On the skin of the hands, rashes appear as a result of self-infection – the transfer of fungal flora from the feet or nail plates. Symptoms are less intense: only small cracks and flaking are formed. 

In children under 3 years of age, the process is often localized in the area of ​​skin folds Swollen, red and painful rashes cause the baby discomfort and can cause restless behavior.

Not just a fungus: possible complications

Rubrophytosis is an infection that can easily become generalized. It often occurs in weakened children with impaired immune systems. On the skin of the limbs, and then on the trunk, multiple ring-shaped rashes appear, which form fancy garlands or arcs. The disease worsens in the warm season.

A little less often, large painful nodes are formed on the skin, prone to peripheral growth. They can ulcerate and even bleed, resembling externally malignant neoplasms.

Ulcers and erosions that form during rubrophytosis are the gateway for various infections. Staphylococcal flora often joins: this is accompanied by the appearance of multiple painful pustules and deep skin cracks, which heal only when using antibacterial ointments.

Do not forget about the cosmetic aspects: a deformed and damaged nail plate looks unaesthetic and can be a cause for concern.

Diagnostics: when to see a doctor?

The appearance of any rash on the skin or the surface of the nail plates is a reason to visit a dermatologist. External signs of rubrophytosis are specific: often a routine examination is enough to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment. 

As additional examination methods, skin scraping and bacteriological culture (to identify concomitant microflora) can be prescribed.

It is necessary to differentiate rubrophytosis in children with eczema, skin tuberculosis, psoriasis or systemic lupus erythematosus.  

Rubrophytosis treatment: main aspects

Local therapy consists in treating the skin with antifungal drugs in the form of ointments, gels, shampoos. In case of damage to the nail plates, agents in the form of varnishes are prescribed: they penetrate deeper.  

The generalized form of rubrophytosis is an indication for the use of systemic antifungal drugs in the form of tablets.

Prevention of rubrophytosis

Since all fungal diseases are transmitted mainly by contact, certain recommendations must be followed to prevent infection.

  • use individual rubber slippers when visiting baths, saunas or swimming pools;
  • teach the child to play only with their toys;
  • handle all toys regularly and wash clothes frequently;
  • follow the hygiene measures in the school or kindergarten (whether cleaning and disinfection of the premises is carried out, how often it happens);
  • once a week, examine the child’s skin and nails in order to identify changes in time.

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