What Exactly is Ringworm?
Not a worm is a ringworm. It is a skin infection caused by fungi that resemble mould and thrive on the damaged cells of your skin, hair, and nails. You can obtain it in any one of these locations, as well as on your head. When it occurs between the toes, it is known as athlete’s foot which can be read in the How to reduce athletes foot easily through simple remedies?. When it spreads to the groin, it is referred to as a jock itch.
Ringworm is a skin fungal infection also known as dermatophytosis, dermatophyte infection, and tinea. The infection is caused by a fungus, not really a worm; thus, the name “ringworm” is inaccurate. This infection causes a lesion that mirrors a worm in the form of a ring, hence the name.
Typically, ringworm refers to tinea corporis (ringworm of the body) or tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp) (ringworm of the scalp). It is sometimes used to describe other tinea infections, like tinea cruris (ringworm of the groin). Infection with ringworm can actually affect all humans and animals.
In affected areas, the infection initially manifests as discoloured, frequently scaly patches.
Typically, these patches appear red on fairer skin and brown-grey on darker skin tones. A ringworm infection may spread to other parts of the body, including the: scalp, feet, hands, nails, groin, and facial hair.
Most commonly, the term “ringworm” is referred to as tinea corporis, also called as ringworm of the body. On the torso and limbs, this condition frequently manifests as patches with a distinctive circular ring shape.
Tinea capitis, or ringworm of the scalp, typically begins as isolated scaling on the scalp and progresses into itchy, scaly bald spots. It is most prevalent in children. Hair may break or fall out around the affected area, and bald patches could develop ringworm symptoms
Ringworm of the beard, also known as tinea barbae, can cause bald patches on the cheeks, chin, and upper neck. This could resemble pimples, skin infections, or another skin disorder. Some individuals experience fatigue and lymph node enlargement.
Tinea manuum, or ringworm of the hand, is caused mainly by touching an infected area, such as the groyne or foot. On the palm, an infection of the hand may manifest as extremely dry skin with deep fissures.If the disease spreads, ring-shaped patches may appear on the back of the hand.
Tinea cruris is a skin infection near the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks caused by ringworm. It is most prevalent in men and teenage boys. This typically begins as an itchy red, brown, or grey rash at the point where the leg meets the body. The itching may worsen following a workout and may not be alleviated by anti-itch cream.
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete’s foot, is the generic term for ringworm infection of the foot. People who walk bare feet in public areas where the infection can transmit, such as changing areas, and showers, are frequently affected. This condition begins as dry, scaly skin between the toes and can spread to the sole and heel.
Possible symptoms include: a stinging, itchy, or burning sensation, exuding sores with a foul odour
Nails Onychomycosis, also known as tinea unguium, is an infection of the nails caused by ringworm. It tends to affect toenails more frequently than fingernails because footwear provides the moist, humid atmosphere that fungi prefer. Nails that are affected could become thicker or discoloured. They might even crack or separate from the nail bed.
So what were the signs and symptoms?
The telltale sign is an itchy, red, scaly patch or bump. The bump evolves into something like a ring- or circular pattern patch over time.It may become multiple rings. Typically, the interior of the layer is clear or scaly. The exterior may be slightly elevated and bumpy.
Ringworm on the scalp typically begins as a small bump or sore. It may become flaky, dry and scaly, and it may be tender and painful to the touch. You may observe your hair probably falling out in patches.
Symptoms vary depending on the location of the infection. With a skin infection, the following symptoms may occur:
- Red, brown, or grey scaly or itchy patches, or raised areas of skin called plaques.
- A circular, flat area of itchy skin that develops blisters or pustules.
- patches resembling a ring with darker colour on the outside, patches with defined and raised edges, overlapping rings hair loss
- The appearance of ringworm can vary depending on which area of the body is affected.
- Doctors use different terms for ringworm depending largely on where it initially appeared on the body.
How Does One Obtain Ringworm?
Ringworm is extremely infectious. It can be caught through any of the following methods:
- from a third party: Ringworm spreads frequently through skin-to-skin contact.
- From your pets: Rubbing or grooming Sparky? When you are finished, wash your hands. It is also prevalent in cows.
- By physically touching objects: The ringworm-causing fungus can survive on surfaces, clothing, sheets, and in accessories and brushes.
- From soil: You can contract ringworm if you work or stand barefoot in soil contaminated with the fungus that leads it.
How Can I Determine that I have it?
To confirm that the infection is ringworm, you must see a physician. There may be other skin conditions that have a similar appearance. Your physician will likely scratch some skin from the scaly, itchy areas and examine it under a microscope.
What is the Therapy?
How the disease is controlled depends on its location and severity. In many instances, your doctor may suggest a drugstore-available over-the-counter (OTC) medication.If the ringworm is located on the skin, an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream, moisturiser, or powder may be effective. Clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex) and miconazole are two of the most commonly used.
In most cases, you will need to apply the medications to your skin for two to four weeks to ensure that the fungus that induces ringworm is eradicated. It will also reduce its chances of returning.
If you already have ringworm on your scalp or in multiple locations on your body, OTC treatments are likely insufficient. Your physician must consider writing you a prescription.
Keep a watchful eye out for signs that worsen or persist beyond two weeks.If they do not, contact your physician.
how to treat ringworm?
The discomfort caused by a ringworm rash is widespread and treatable. Early intervention is essential to prevent the spread of the infection.
Here are six straightforward treatments for ringworm.
1. Apply a specific antibiotic agent
The majority of ringworm cases can be treated effectively. Antifungals available without a prescription can destroy the fungus and accelerate healing.Miconazole (Cruex), clotrimazole (Desenex), and terbinafine are effective antifungal medications (Lamisil).
After cleansing the rash, apply antifungal meds to the affected area two to three times daily, or as directed on the packaging. Spread the treatment a few centimetres beyond the rash’s border and allow the medication to absorb into the skin.
2. Allow it to breathe
It may seem perfectly reasonable to cover ringworm with a bandage in order to prevent its spread. Although, bandaging the rash prevents moisture evaporation and slows down the healing process. Rather, wear comfortable, breathable clothing to hasten recovery and prevent the spread of the rash. This includes shirts with long sleeves and pants with a loose fit.
3. Clean bedding daily
As ringworm is extremely infectious, you should change your sheets every day to eliminate the infection more quickly. The sheets and comforter can become contaminated with fungal spores.
If you rest along the same sheets night after night, ringworm may take longer to heal and may spread to other parts of your body. Additionally, contaminated bedding can infect your partner.
Utilize hot water and detergent when rinsing infected bedding and clothing. Only hot water can kill the fungus. In addition to regular laundry detergent, add borax or bleach to your wash as an extra precaution. Both Borax and bleach are available at grocery stores, and they both kill fungal spores.
4. Change wet underwear and socks
If you develop ringworm on your feet or in your groin, keep such areas dry.If you perspire heavily throughout the day, take showers with an antifungal cleansing bar and reapply antifungal powder or lotion. Ensure that the area is totally dry prior to donning new underwear or socks.
5. Get an antifungal shampoo
On occasion, ringworm can develop on the scalp. A scalp infection is characterised by severe itching, spots of hair loss, boils on the scalp, and severe dandruff.If you really have ringworm on your scalp, use an over-the-counter antifungal shampoo to wash your hair. These shampoos eliminate bacterial and fungal infections on the scalp and reduce inflammation. They are available for purchase at grocery stores and pharmacies.
Consider shampoos that contain antifungal active ingredients like ketoconazole, selenium sulphide, and pyrithione zinc. Utilize shampoos according to package instructions.
Be aware, however, that scalp fungus is nearly difficult to eradicate without oral medication. Follow the packaging instructions.
6. Take an antifungal medication
Continue using an anti-fungal powder, lotion, or hair products until the rash has completely vanished. Infection may revert back if treatment is discontinued prematurely. Consult a physician if the rash persists after two weeks of home treatment.If a ringworm infection does not improve or spreads, a pharmaceuticals topical cream or oral antifungal medicine may be necessary.Book an appointment with your family physician or a dermatologist.Take the prescribed medication as prescribed by your physician.Based on the intensity of the infection, you may be required to take the medication for weeks to months.
How do I avoid ringworm?
The fungi responsible are widespread.
Nonetheless, the following measures can reduce your risk of contracting ringworm and prevent its spread:
- Maintain clean and dry skin.
- Wear flip-flops in public locker rooms and showers.
- Start changing your dirty clothes daily at a minimum.
- Do not share clothing or towels with an infected individual.
- If you participate in sports, you should keep your equipment and uniform clean and not try sharing them with some other players.
- After handling animals, wash them thoroughly with soap and warm.
- If your pet has ringworm, consult a veterinarian.
What Complications might arise from ringworm?
The infection is harmless and will hardly ever if ever, spread beneath the skin’s surface. Those with compromised immunity, such as those with HIV, undergoing chemotherapy, or receiving other immunosuppressive treatments, may have difficulty eliminating the infection.
Similar to other skin infections and conditions, scratchy, irritated, or open sores can cause the development of bacterial infections that may require antibiotic treatment.
How can you prevent ringworm?
You can prevent ringworm by avoiding close contact with an infected person.This includes, directly and indirectly, contact with the individual in question.
Among the precautions you can take are:
- Not trying to share towels, hats, hairbrushes, or garments with an infected individual.
- Maintaining hygiene habits around other people if you have ringworm on the body and refraining from scratching the affected areas of skin.