When speaking about the condition named ringworm, it’s important to clarify from start that although the name may suggest it, this is not a parasitic infection – it’s a type of skin fungi. This infection is caused by mold-like fungi, a type that lives on the dead tissues of one’s skin, hair, nails and scalp.
One of the most important things to know about the infection ringworm it that it is highly contagious and can easily be spread from person to person. This is most likely to occur in moist areas where fungus generally thrives and that includes gyms, day-care bathrooms and locker rooms.
The main signs that someone has this type of infection are a ring-shaped rash, red, scaly, or cracked skin and hair loss in the affected area. The symptoms usually appear 4 to 14 days after the skin has been into contact with the fungi. Generally speaking, the infections starts out as red or pink skin patches (they can also be spots) which are either flat or a little bit raised. In the beginning, the sores can be moist, but as the infection progresses, they’ll get dry, scaly, and quite uncomfortably itchy.
The Different Types of Ringworm Infections (Where can it appear?)
This infection affects the skin on the feet and it can spread to the toenails as well. Less severe cases are treated with an antifungal cream or spray that anyone can get without a prescription. If the infection is mild, with this type of cream it can be cleared in two weeks.
If, however, the case is more severe, it s recommended to talk to a dermatologist in order to get a prescription for a stronger medicine.
When the ringworm infection appears on the groin, it’s called a jock itch. In order to get rid of this type of ringworm, your dermatologist is most likely to recommend an antifungal cream, spray, or powder. All of these can be bought without a prescription. What you’ll need to do is apply the antifungal solution twice a day for 10 to 14 days. When it comes to the most unpleasant aspect of all this – the itch, it helps to apply a wet, cool washcloth to the affected area and simply wait for 20 to 30 minutes.
The washing of the infected area should be done carefully in the sense that you should place the washcloth on the jock itch only and the you can either throw the piece away or wash it with very hot water as to kill the fungus. Remember that ringworm is a type of fungus that can survive on objects for a long time.
If it appears on the scalp, the treatment of ringworm will require prescription medicine.If the patient is a child, the most commonly prescribed medicine is griseofulvin. It is up to the dermatologist to decide whether the medicine will come in form of tablets, capsules, or liquid.
In order to have successful healing, the medicine should be taken consistently as prescribed. If you stop taking it sooner than prescribed, the chances that the infection may come back are huge. Getting rid of scalp ringworm can also include using an antifungal shampoo. It may sound extreme to some, but doctors usually recommend that everyone who lives with the infected uses an antifungal shampoo until the infection is no longer present. This is a simple way to prevent family members from infecting each other.
In most cases, an antifungal cream is all that’s needed to clear this type of infection. If the case is more severe, the person will have to take a stronger antifungal medicine like terbinafine or itraconazole. Also, if the ringworm has spread to a fingernail, taking an antifungal medicine is a must.
Shaving the infected hair is a mandatory step, along with taking a prescription antifungal medicine and a tailor-made treatment plan. Sometimes even tissue removal might be necessary.
The best type of prevention is to develop the required habits that should follow after doing sports. Children and teenagers should shower right after these activities and always wear flip-flops in communal changing areas. Ringworm can also be transferred from contact with pets, but this can be prevented by regularly washing your hands.
Although this infection has a rather unique appearance, some other conditions can sometimes look quite similar. This includes spider bites, nummular eczema (coin-shaped) and lyme disease (a bacterial infection from a tick bite).