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What causes fungus on hands?

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Quick Answer

Fungal infections of the hands are caused by trichophyton rubrum, a dermatophytic fungus. This infection is commonly transmitted by direct contact with infected people, animals, soil or household articles, such as towels and bed sheets, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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Full Answer

These infections are more commonly known as tinea manuum and are less common than athlete's foot, a similar infection. Typical symptoms include redness and scaling of the back of the hands, and dryness and scaling of the palms, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The treatment of superficial fungal infections such as tinea manuum usually begins with topical antifungal creams applied to the affected area. This treatment approach is often difficult for patients because most creams require application twice per day for a lengthy period of time, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Oral antifungal medication may be necessary if an infection becomes systemic, affects the nails, if topical antifungal creams are ineffective or if a patient is not able to adhere to the treatment plan. Patients taking these agents have better compliance because they are easier to take and the treatment time is much shorter. Oral antifungal medications have the potential to cause severe side effects, such as hematotoxicity, and are also associated with multiple drug interactions, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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