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Tinea Manuum – advisory by Roy Khoo, Guardian Pharmacist

What is tinea manuum?
Tinea manuum refers to a fungal infection that occurs on the palms. It is also known as the “one hand, two feet syndrome”

Why is it called the “one hand, two feet syndrome”?
Interestingly, this fungal infection often occurs on hands that have been scratching feet with fungal infections, commonly athlete's foot or toe nail infection. Without proper hygiene measures after coming in contact with the infected foot, the fungus that is transferred to the hand will then start to multiply and subsequently infect the palm.

What does it look like?
The infected palm appears dry, with scaling and peeling of the skin. Sometimes, it can easily be misdiagnosed as eczema.

Who is at risk?
Individuals suffering from athletes’ foot or nail fungal infection are at a higher risk of having this skin condition. The elderly and people with a compromised immune system can easily get this infection as well.

How can this fungal infection be treated?
The treatment for this type of fungal infection is similar to that of other skin fungal infections. A topical anti-fungal cream is generally the preferred choice. The anti-fungal cream should be applied about once to twice daily on the affected area as directed. The treatment should be continued until the symptoms are treated, usually taking about four weeks. To prevent any recurrence, the anti-fungal cream should continue to be applied for up to two weeks after the disappearance of the signs and symptoms to ensure the full eradication of the fungus.

How can this fungal infection be prevented?
It is important to always ensure proper hygiene. Wash your hands immediately after coming in contact with any areas of the body with fungal infection. Apart from this, finger nail fungal infections should be treated as soon as possible as untreated nail fungal infections may spread to the palms. Lastly, it is important to keep the immune system strong as fungus can only thrive within a compromised immune system.

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