Jock Itch in Children: Care Instructions

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Jock itch is a fungal infection of the groin. The fungus that causes jock itch lives on the skin. It often affects male athletes, but anyone can get jock itch. Your child may get an itchy rash on the inner thighs and rear end (buttocks). It spreads and starts to itch when your child sweats or is in steamy showers or locker rooms.

Jock itch should end soon if your child keeps the skin dry after cleaning it. You can treat jock itch at home with antifungal creams that you can buy without a prescription.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child wash the rash with soap and water and pat the skin dry.
  • Have your child spread antifungal cream over and around the entire edge of the rash. Follow the directions on the package.
  • To avoid spreading it, wash your child's hands well after treating or touching the rash.
  • If the doctor prescribed medicine, give it exactly as directed. Call the doctor if your child has any problems with the medicine.
  • Tell your child to try not to scratch the rash.
  • Have your child shower or bathe daily and after exercise.
  • Have your child keep the skin dry as much as possible to allow it to heal.
  • Until the jock itch is cured, have your child wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Avoid tight underwear, pants, and tights.
  • Wash supporters and shorts after every wearing.
  • Teach your child to not share clothing, sports equipment, towels, or sheets to avoid spreading the fungi to other people.

To prevent jock itch

  • Teach your child to put on socks before putting on underwear if your child has athlete's foot. This action helps prevent the fungus on the feet from spreading to the groin.
  • Wash workout clothes, underwear, socks, and towels after each use.
  • Teach your child to keep the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks clean and dry, especially after exercise and showering.
  • Teach your child to wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms, showers, and public bathing areas.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the rash.
    • Pus draining from the rash.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.