A Sad Story about Fungus with a Happy Ending

Since our boys are in wrestling at the elementary school, skin things get spread around. In December, our oldest son came home from a meet with small red rash near his mouth which I quickly diagnosed as seborrhoeic dermatitis (thinking I was quite clever). I started treating it with hydrocortizone cream, which is to skin rashes that Carmex is to chapped lips, and a vacuum cleaner is to dirt on the floor. This didn't work, so I started applying Lamisil cream which is used to treat jock itch that just happened to be lying around the house? That didn't work. I think it was here that I realized maybe all skin fungi aren't the same, so can't be treated the same. When the two other boys got little spots near their mouths, I realized I needed to try something else. It has been 3 months since the first sighting at this point, because it takes me SO LONG to apply knowledge. Finally, because I am 'self-smart' (thank you Mindi), I looked up skin fungus on the c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r, and learned some very interesting information, which I am going to share with you right now. There are 5 common types of skin fungus:
  • Athlete's foot (not likely, since it needs hot, moist conditions, such as a shoe)
  • Jock itch (tried to treat it as this, but didn't go away)
  • Ringworm (we had ruled this out because the rash was not in a ring)
  • Candidiasis (AHA! Can occur at the corners of mouth, among other places!)
  • Tinea Versicolor (ruled this out since it was not causing the skin to change color)
So then I treated the rash with ointment used to treat yeast infections (another form of Candidiasis), and the spots were gone overnight. The moral of the story is to accurately diagnose the fungus, then treat. In order to help you, I've made up a little memory tool (mnemonic device):

Oh Athlete's foot, please leave me be
you make my toes itch, so red and flak-y

You too, Jock Itch, only its not my toes
that itch so bad, and not my knees and not my nose

Ringworm, you drive me crazy going round and round the way you do
I never knew you weren't REALLY a worm, but a fungus you are too!

You're a brownish-red, itchy patch,Candidiasis, and you have a funny name.
Whether you're under my arms, near my mouth, or beneath my breasts - you're still the same.

You are best of all our fungal friends, Tinea Versicolor
You don't itch as bad, but make patches of skin dark or lighter. (c) sm


Dollymama said...

Dear Stephanie,
Please submit this fine poem to
where they specialize in mnemonic devices. Clearly you are a kindred spirit with the folks at flocabulary. (Be sure to check out Hip Hop History while you're there.)


SiouxsieQ said...

Stephanie, I love you! I too take a really super duper long time to apply knowledge. It's quite a handicap when I go to the doctor and he/she says "how long has this been going on?" and I stand there with my finger in my mouth going, "A month? Three months? Six months? a week?" Not sure. It's very empowering to have the words "it takes me a long time to apply knowledge." Your blog is so so helpful.

Aleda said...

Well written article.