Common tinea infections in children

Am Fam Physician. 2008 May 15;77(10):1415-20.


The common dermatophyte genera Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton are major causes of superficial fungal infections in children. These infections (e.g., tinea corporis, pedis, cruris, and unguium) are typically acquired directly from contact with infected humans or animals or indirectly from exposure to contaminated soil or fomites. A diagnosis usually can be made with a focused history, physical examination, and potassium hydroxide microscopy. Occasionally, Wood's lamp examination, fungal culture, or histologic tissue examination is required. Most tinea infections can be managed with topical therapies; oral treatment is reserved for tinea capitis, severe tinea pedis, and tinea unguium. Topical therapy with fungicidal allylamines may have slightly higher cure rates and shorter treatment courses than with fungistatic azoles. Although oral griseofulvin has been the standard treatment for tinea capitis, newer oral antifungal agents such as terbinafine, itraconazole, and fluconazole are effective, safe, and have shorter treatment courses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Administration, Topical
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Tinea / diagnosis*
  • Tinea / drug therapy*
  • Tinea / epidemiology
  • Tinea Capitis / diagnosis
  • Tinea Capitis / drug therapy
  • Tinea Pedis / diagnosis
  • Tinea Pedis / drug therapy
  • Trichophyton / isolation & purification*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Antifungal Agents