Ringworm is a well-known skin condition and is a popular name for a fungal infection of the skin. Interestingly, the term, oftentimes, referred to fungal infections that appear in circular lesions. It is also called TINEA. There’s actually no worm involved in the condition. Instead, it’s a fungus infection. This name comes from its symptoms, especially the ring-shaped, red and scaly patches with clear centers. Ringworm is highly contagious. The infecting fungi are capable of spreading even by skin to skin contact!
What causes the ringworm?
Ringworm is caused by a group of different types of fungi. They feed on the body’s waste products of dead skin and perspiration. They attack the skin in areas especially in body folds, like the armpit and crotch. The type found between the toes is called Athlete’s Foot and another type also affects the soles and toenails.
Ringworm usually found in children are usually traced to infected pets, these attack the scalp and areas of the body which is exposed, such as the arms and legs. They appear as reddish patches and are often scaly or blistered and may cause damage to the hair shaft. They can also cause itching and soreness to the area.
The fungi are very contagious and are spread by humans, animals, and even by objects, such as combs, or towels contaminated by others who are infected. Scratching can also transfer the infection to other parts of the body.
There are certain conditions that boost the probability of getting infected by ringworm. For example, warm climate is highly suitable for fungal infections. Poor hygiene also promotes fungal infection. If you are using communal baths or locker rooms, it increases the chance of getting infected by fungal infections, especially ringworm. Skin contact is the most prevalent way of spreading ringworm.
Most Common Ringworm Infections
Athlete’s foot: This is one of the most common infections. It’s quite common among teens and adult males. However, it’s less frequent for children. Symptoms include scales appearing on the sole, sides of the feet, between the toes and other parts of the feet. There might also be small to medium blisters.
Jock Itch: This type of ringworm is very common in males. It’s more prevalent during warm weather. It’s quite rare in females. Symptoms include ring-shaped, red patches in the groin area. Usually, this ringworm doesn’t infect the scrotum. There can be pain and itch in the groin.
Scalp Ringworm: Scalp ringworm is very contagious. This is especially true for children. It is usually prevalent among kids of 2-10 years old. However, adults rarely get infected by scalp ringworm. Symptoms of scalp ringworm include scaly and red rashes appearing on the scalp. The scalp will itch and the hair will fall out. The infection may spread to other parts of the body and will cause rashes. Without proper treatment, it will develop into a kerion. (A complication of ringworm of the scalp, with the formation of pustules). Kerion is larger and tender legions, often developing in the areas where the initial infection took place.
Nail Infection: This ringworm attacks the toes and fingers. Thickened and deformed nails are major symptoms. Generally, the infection is more serious to toenails compared to fingernails. This infection mostly happens to teens and adults. If the ringworm infects the nails, the ends of the nail will thicken. Infected nails will also turn yellow.
Body Ringworm: This infection infects all over the body except the face. It can occur at any age. However, it’s more prevalent in children. The warmer climate is greatly beneficial to ringworm infection. Some of the symptoms of body ringworm contain circular and red lesions throughout the body, generally with raised edges. As the lesions continue to grow, the centers become less red. The infected area will itch a lot. The symptoms may infer to other skin conditions. For a proper diagnosis, your doctor will decide.
What is the Treatment for Ringworm
It is a very persistent fungal infection. Different type of ringworm requires a different type of treatment. However, almost all of them require topical applications of antifungal creams. Depending on the condition of the infection, you may also need oral medications. Your doctor will decide the proper treatment for you. Steroids are common for treating this type of infection. In some situations, the treatment may have to continue for a longer time.
Scalp ringworm may require the usage of medical shampoo for fungus elimination. In the case or ringworms occurring to the body, groin, and foot, doctors mostly prescribe topical treatments. The treatment will have to continue unless this infection is completely cleared up. The fungi can thrive on the skin for an infinite time. So, the chance of recurrence is always high.
For prevention, it largely depends on cleanliness. Your body should be washed with soap and water, especially hairy areas and body folds where perspiration is likely to be. Thorough drying is very important as bathing, for the fungi thrive when it is damp and warm.
It is a very unpleasant skin condition that is very contagious. Even simple skin contact with other infected people or animal will get you ringworm. If you have any symptom of ringworm, immediately see your doctor. The earlier you get treatment, the easier it will be to eliminate the fungal infection. If you are infected by any type of ringworm, try to limit skin contact with others. Wear loose clothes, wash your beddings and clothes regularly and dry your skin properly. Remember, good hand washing is the key to prevent the spread to others. How did you like this article? Is it helpful for you? let me know by commenting in the box below! You can also find other articles which may be of interest to you by clicking right here. Thanks for reading.