By Dr.Peter Kadile
Dear Dr. K, my son has a rash on his arm and was told by the school nurse that it was ringworm. The nurse told him to just have us apply cream used for athlete’s foot. Why should we use cream meant for a person’s foot for a rash on his arm? – Lloyd, Indio
Lloyd, ringworm is a rash that is caused by a fungus. It is contagious, commonly transmitted from person to person or animals (pets) to person, also commonly from coming in contact with surfaces in a locker room or shower floor. Athlete’s foot is also a rash caused by a fungus. Over the counter cream meant to treat Athlete’s Foot is antifungal, thus it can also be used to treat other fungal skin infections on other parts of the body. Not all over the counter creams or ointments are the same. Any antibiotic ointment will not cure Ringworm or Athlete’s Foot. Anti-itch cream, such as cortisone or hydrocortisone, will make fungal skin infections worse.
Dr. Peter, my daughter was sent home from school because she has “pink eye”. I was told she had to see a doctor, but by the time I could get an appointment for her, the redness in her eye was gone. Should she still see the doctor? – Betty, Rancho Mirage
Betty, “pink eye” (conjunctivitis) is the common name given to redness or inflammation to the conjunctiva or whites of the eyes. The condition can be caused by viruses, bacteria or allergies. It is most commonly caused by a virus, and like a cold, will usually resolve on its own in a few days to a week. Usually viral conjunctivitis is associated with increased watery discharge, whereas bacterial conjunctivitis may have thick green or yellow discharge. Bacterial conjunctivitis requires antibiotic eye drops or ointment for treatment. Pink eye is contagious and is commonly transmitted when an infected person rubs his/her eye and then touches someone and that person then rubs his/her eye. That is why it is much more common in young children who don’t usually wash their hands.
If your daughter’s eyes are no longer red and without any discharge, than she likely had a viral or allergy “pink eye” that got better on its own but if she is complaining of eye pain, than she should still see the doctor.
Dear Dr. Kadile, my baby has thrush. Is it contagious? – Valerie, Indio
Valerie, thrush is an overgrowth of yeast occurring it the oral cavity. It is common for babies to get thrush because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. If you are generally healthy, then unlikely you would contract thrush from your baby. Adults with weakened immune systems, diabetes or nutritional deficiencies are susceptible to getting thrush.
Dear Dr. Kadile, I noticed a painful, red bump on my lower right eyelid this morning, It looks like a pimple near the eyelashes, but my friend said it is a stye and I would need antibiotic eye drops. Should I be worried? – Tracy, La Quinta
Tracy, sounds like you are describing a stye. A stye is like a pimple in which a small oil duct is blocked resulting in a small infection caused by the accumulation of the local superficial bacteria on the eyelid and surrounding dead skin cells. The stye may become bigger and more painful before spontaneously bursting and resolving.
The best initial treatment is to apply a warm compress to the area for 10-15 minutes 4-5 times a day. Do not rub the area and do not wear any makeup. You should also not wear contact lenses if you have them. If patients are diligent with the warm compress, the stye will usually resolve by the next morning. You can also clean the area with a Q tip soaked with a diluted mixture of baby shampoo and water. If the stye persists or worsens, you should see your doctor because antibiotics may be needed.