Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can affect the skin, hair, and nails. It is caused by various types of fungi and is highly contagious. Read this post till the end to learn its causes, symptoms, treatment, medication, and prevention.
What Is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that is caused by a group of fungi known as dermatophytes. It is characterized by the appearance of round, red, scaly patches on the skin that may itch or be painful.
It can affect various parts of the body, including the scalp, beard, groin, and feet. The name “ringworm” is misleading, as it is not caused by a worm, but by a fungus.
Ringworm is contagious and can spread from person to person or from pet to person. It is typically treated with antifungal medication, either applied topically or taken orally.
Causes Of Ringworm
The most common causes are direct contact with infected individuals, animals, or objects, as well as skin-to-skin contact with infected areas. Fungal spores can also survive on contaminated surfaces for long periods of time and spread from person to person through contaminated objects, such as clothing, towels, or combs.
Humidity and warm temperatures can also increase the likelihood of infection, making it more common in summer months and in tropical regions. People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, are more susceptible to developing ringworm infections.
The main cause is a fungal infection of the skin. This type of infection is commonly caused by dermatophytes, which are fungi that feed on the dead tissues of the skin, hair, and nails.
Contact with Infected Animals:
Ringworms can be passed from animals to humans, such as cats, dogs, cattle, horses, and other livestock. This is often the case in people who work with animals or pet owners.
Contact with Infected Surfaces:
Ringworm can also be spread through contact with contaminated objects such as combs, brushes, towels, clothes, and gym equipment.
People with moist skin, such as those who sweat a lot, are more likely to develop ringworm. This is because the warm, moist environment is ideal for fungal growth.
Weak Immune System:
People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy, are more susceptible to fungal infections including ringworm.
Ringworm can also develop in people with skin injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, or burns, as the fungus can enter the skin through these openings.
Sharing Personal Items:
Ringworm can also spread through sharing personal items such as towels, razors, or clothing.
Symptoms Of Ringworm
A red, circular rash that is often raised and itchy is a common symptom of ringworm. The center of the rash may appear lighter than the surrounding area.
The affected skin may appear scaly, dry, and flaky, which is a sign of a fungal infection.
In some cases, small blisters may form on the affected skin.
An intense itching sensation may accompany the rash and blisters, causing discomfort and distraction.
Breaking of skin:
Over-scratching or breaking the skin may lead to an increased risk of secondary bacterial infections.
It’s important to note that not all people will experience all of these symptoms and the severity of symptoms may vary from person to person. It is best to consult a doctor if you suspect you have ringworm for proper diagnosis and treatment.
How To Treat Ringworm
Treatment typically involves the use of antifungal medications, which can be applied topically or taken orally. Some common topical treatments include:
- Terbinafine (Lamisil) cream
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin) cream
- Miconazole (Monistat) cream
Oral medications that are commonly used to treat ringworm include:
- Terbinafine (Lamisil) tablets
- Itraconazole (Sporanox) capsules
- Fluconazole (Diflucan) tablets
In addition to antifungal medications, other treatments may include:
- Over-the-counter antifungal creams, sprays, or powders
- Keeping the affected area clean and dry
- Avoiding close contact with infected individuals or animals
- Wearing light, airy clothing to reduce sweating
It’s important to complete the full course of treatment as recommended by your doctor to prevent the spread of the infection and to ensure the complete resolution of symptoms. In some cases, topical or oral antifungal treatments may not be effective and a referral to a dermatologist may be necessary.
The following medications are commonly used to treat ringworm:
Topical Antifungal Creams:
Over-the-counter creams containing terbinafine, miconazole, or clotrimazole can be effective in treating ringworm on the skin.
Oral Antifungal Medications:
In severe cases, or if ringworm affects other parts of the body like the scalp, a doctor may prescribe oral antifungal medications like itraconazole, terbinafine, or fluconazole.
If this causes itching and skin irritation, a doctor may recommend a corticosteroid cream to reduce inflammation.
It’s important to follow the instructions provided by your doctor and finish the complete course of medication to ensure that the ringworm is completely treated. In some cases, a doctor may recommend using a combination of topical and oral treatments for the best results.
How To Treat Ringworm Naturally
Here are some natural treatments that may help treat this:
Tea tree oil For Ringworm:
This essential oil has antifungal properties that can help fight the fungus-causing ringworm. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with carrier oil and apply it to the affected area.
Garlic For Ringworm:
Garlic has antifungal and antiseptic properties that can help combat the fungus-causing ringworm. Crush a few garlic cloves and apply the paste directly to the affected area.
Apple cider vinegar For Ringworm:
Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties and can help soothe itching and reduce inflammation. Mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar, and apply it to the affected area using a cotton ball.
Aloe vera For Ringworm:
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the skin and reduce redness and itching. Simply apply fresh aloe vera gel directly to the affected area.
Coconut oil For Ringworm:
Coconut oil has antifungal and moisturizing properties that can help treat ringworm and prevent it from spreading. Apply coconut oil directly to the affected area.
Note: It’s important to remember that natural treatments may not work for everyone and it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
How To Prevent Ringworm
Prevention of Ringworm
One of the most effective ways to prevent, this is to practice good hygiene. This includes washing your hands regularly, especially after coming in contact with an infected person or animal, and after being in public places.
Avoid sharing personal items:
Don’t share personal items like towels, combs, or brushes, as they can easily spread the infection.
Wear shoes in public places:
Wearing shoes in public places like locker rooms, swimming pools, and gym showers can help protect your feet from coming in contact with infected surfaces.
Keep your skin clean and dry:
Keep your skin clean and dry to prevent fungal growth. This includes changing out of wet clothing as soon as possible and using an antifungal powder to absorb moisture on your feet and other affected areas.
Avoid tight clothing:
Tight clothing can trap moisture and create a warm, moist environment that is ideal for fungal growth. Wear loose, breathable clothing instead.
Treat any skin injuries immediately: Treat any cuts, scrapes, or other skin injuries immediately to reduce the risk of infection. Clean the affected area with soap and water, and cover it with a clean bandage to keep it dry and protected.
Keep your pets clean and healthy:
If you have pets, keep them clean and healthy to prevent the spread of ringworm. This includes regular grooming, regular veterinary check-ups, and avoiding contact with other infected animals.
Ringworm is a common fungal infection that can affect the skin, hair, and nails. It is caused by various types of fungi and is highly contagious.
The symptoms include a round or oval-shaped rash, itching, and redness. Treatment options include antifungal medications, both topical and oral, and natural remedies such as tea tree oil and garlic.
To prevent this, it’s important to practice good hygiene, keep the affected area clean and dry, and avoid sharing personal items such as towels and combs. If you have ringworm, it’s important to seek medical treatment to prevent it from spreading to others.