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Cleveland Clinic Journal of MedicineThe Clinical Picture: Masked Tinia

Masked Tinea: Unmasking the Hidden Consequences of Prolonged Mask Usage

A recent case study published in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine highlights an unexpected consequence of prolonged mask-wearing: the development of tinea faciei, a filamentous fungal infection.

Key Points

  • A 91-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital with a 1-month history of anorexia.
  • On day 22 of hospitalization, the patient complained of itching on the face.
  • Removal of the mask revealed a painless rash that extended from the forehead to the mandible on the right side of her face.
  • Microscopic study of a lesion preparation using potassium hydroxide showed tinea faciei.
  • The patient also had tinea pedis on both feet.
  • Topical terbinafine ointment was prescribed, and the lesions improved within 2 months.
  • The patient’s tinea faciei was likely attributable to her wearing a mask every day for almost the entire day.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, there has been an increase in facial dermatoses due to prolonged use of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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