Jock itch is a colloquial term for a type of fungal infection. In North America, athletes are known as jocks, and this infection is quite common among them, hence the name.
As we are gearing up for the summer, it may be beneficial to learn about this issue. Let’s start by recapping a few things about the condition.
Jock Itch is a fungal infection affecting the skin. The risk of such an infection is highest in damp, warm and moist areas like skin folds. While the groin area is often afflicted, it is not the only place where the fungus can attack.
Dr David Kim, a board-certified dermatologist from California, cited a red itchy rash on the skin as the main feature of Jock Itch. The classical rash is ring-shaped with a red border with red and scaly edges. The middle part of the rash usually looks clear.
The main risk factor for Jock Itch is prolonged exposure to moisture in the skin folds. Therefore, summer is identified as the prime time when the incidence of Jock Itch increases.
Jock Itch is usually self-limiting and the infection will subside gradually. In the meantime, we can adopt some common remedies to manage the symptoms.
Scratching the rash for itching is never a good idea. Instead, using a cold compress like ice packs, or cold clean cloth over the skin should be practised. A cool shower with a mild preservative-free soap is useful too.
Jock Itch is contagious, which means it can be transferred from person to person. So, it is important to maintain personal hygiene.
Regular hand washing, keeping clothes washed and avoiding sharing towels, clothes, sheets, etc. are advisable. Speak to a dermatologist if the symptoms exacerbate or the rash does not show any sign of resolving.
Jock Itch is not a life-threatening condition and it is relatively easy to treat too. But the symptoms are uncomfortable and embarrassing sometimes. Therefore, it is better to adopt a hygienic lifestyle to try to prevent the disease.
One of the most important things to prevent Jock Itch includes changing the clothes and underwear daily, or if someone sweats a lot (e.g. after exercise), maybe more than once a day.
To minimise the risk of Jock Itch, loose-fitting cotton or synthetic clothes should be worn. Tight-fitting dresses, like skin-tight jeans or other clothing, may look trendy and cool, but they will also increase the likelihood of Jock Itch.
For cleaning or drying the body, always use a clean towel that is exclusive to the user. It is completely prohibited to use borrowed things, e.g. clothing, towel, sheets, etc.
Showering regularly is a good preventive measure, especially after exercise. While showering, a mild fragrance-free soap is an ideal choice.
During the shower, the groin and the surrounding area should be washed with that soap and water once. After coming out of the shower the body should be completely dried with a clean towel before putting on any clothes.
Also, applying talcum powder to the groin every day is a good idea.
Dr Imtiaz Ahmed completed his MBBS from Dhaka Medical College.