Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders cover a wide range of conditions, some benign, some very serious, and some even a sign of another underlying illness. A skin disorder not only affects your physical health, but also your emotional well-being.


Skin CareSkin Disorders › Sporotrichosis


Sporotrichosis (SPOR-o-trick-O-sis) is a type of skin infection. It usually strikes people who work around plants and soil. With treatment, the infection is usually cured within 1 to 2 months. Full recovery may take 6 to 7 months.

The fungus that causes sporotrichosis is found in spagnum moss, soil, and rotting vegetation. Anyone can get sporotrichosis, but it is most common among nursery workers, farm laborers, and gardeners handling spagnum moss, roses, or barberry bushes. Cases have also been reported in workers whose jobs took them under houses into crawl spaces contaminated with the fungus.

Causes of Sporotrichosis

The most common route of infection is via the skin through small cuts, scratches or punctures from thorns, barbs, pine needles or wires. Sporotrichosis does not appear to be transmitted from person to person but there are reported cases of transmission from infected cats to humans. In very rare cases, spore-laden dust can be inhaled or ingested and in people with a weakened immune system cause disseminated (widespread) sporotrichosis.

People at risk of contracting sporotrichosis include farmers, nursery workers, landscapers and gardeners. Adult males are, by their occupation, most exposed to the risk of infection.

Signs and symptoms of Sporotrichosis

The first sign of sporotrichosis is usually a small painless bump resembling an insect bite. It can be red, pink, or purple in color. The bump (nodule) usually appears on the finger, hand, or arm where the fungus first entered through a break on the skin. This is followed by one or more additional bumps or nodules which open. They may look like boils. Eventually, the bumps turn into open hollowed-out sores (ulcerations), which are very slow to heal. The infection can also spread to other areas of the body.

Treatment for Sporotrichosis

Until recently, sporotrichosis was usually treated with potassium iodide, taken by mouth in droplet form. A new drug, itraconazole (Sporanox), is now the first choice for treatment because it causes fewer side effects than potassium iodide. Treatment often takes several weeks, until the skin sores are completely healed. In cases of bone infection and cavitatory nodules in the lungs, surgery may be necessary.

In serious cases of sporotrichosis, when the internal organs are infected, the preferred treatment is the drug amphotericin B. Amphotericin B is a strong anti-fungal drug with potentially severe toxic side effects. It is given intravenously, so hospitalization is required for treatment.

Alternative treatment

Alternative treatment for fungal infections focuses on maintaining general good health and eating a diet low in dairy products, sugars, including honey and fruit juice, and foods, such as beer, that contain yeast. This is complemented by a diet high in raw food. Supplements of and vitamins C, E, and A, B complex, and pantothenic acid may also be added to the diet, as may Lactobacillus acidophilus , bifidobacteria, and garlic capsules.

Tips on preventing and treating Sporotrichosis

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when handling wires, rose bushes, hay bales, pine seedlings, or other materials that can prick the skin.
  • To speed healing, place a warm, wet cloth or warm heating pad (set on low) on the sore for 20 to 30 minutes 2 to 4 times a day.
  • Washing hands and arms well after working with roses, barberry, spagnum moss, and other potential sources of the fungus may also provide some protection.
  • Avoid skin contact with sphagnum moss. Moss has been implicated as a source of the fungus in a number of outbreaks.
  • It is also advisable to avoid skin contact with sphagnum moss.
  • Protect the sore with a loose-fitting bandage.

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