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Getting Acquainted With Ringworm

Having a ringworm infection is synonymous to having a Tinea infection. It is an infection that may affect the skin, the scalp, the feet, and the groin area. They are more commonly known as tinea corporis, tinea capitis, tinea pedis, or tinea cruris, respectively. You may either have just one area infected or several at the same time.

What is a ringworm?

A ringworm is called such because of its characteristic ring formation on the skin. It was thought at first to be caused by a worm or parasite underneath the skin’s surface until they discovered the real cause of a ringworm infection: fungus.

Having a ringworm infection is quite common with children but may also be seen in people of different ages. It is quite contagious and mere direct skin contact or even through contaminated things can the ringworm infection be transferred. This includes combs, unlaundered clothes, and even the surfaces of showers or pools. Pets, especially cats are viable carriers of a ringworm infection.

Fungi love moist areas therefore ringworm infections are commonly seen in moist areas of the body, often due to sweating. It can also occur when small injuries occur to the scalp, nails, and skin.

Symptoms of a ringworm infection

How do you know that you have a ringworm infection and not any other fungal infection? A characteristic feature of a ringworm infection is the appearance of a ring like patch. The edges of the patches are well defined and elevated, usually redder than the skin inside it. It is quite itchy and may even cause blisters. For scalp or hair ringworm infections, it causes bald patches to appear. Infected nails usually become a darker color, thicken and crumble.

Diagnosis of a ringworm infection

Just by looking at the infected part and its appearance, the physician or health provider can correctly make a correct diagnosis of a ringworm infection. But for an infection that cannot be determined by just looking at it, then a Wood’s lamp is used to make the fungus appear on the skin as fluoresced organisms. Confirmatory tests to accurately give an accurate and definite diagnosis include taking a scraping of the infected skin area and inspecting it microscopically.

Treatment for a ringworm infection

Symptoms of a ringworm infection can subside within a month, even without a doctor’s consultation, as long as there are no other conditions present. But, for those whose infections are quite in their advanced stages, an immediate trip to the doctor may be needed to get antifungal medications for the skin as well as oral antifungal medications. But the basic things to remember in a ringworm infection are the following:

  1. Maintain the cleanliness of the skin. Avoid keeping it damp or moist since fungi thrive on these kinds of places.
  2. You may use drying powders or antifungal creams to spread over the infection. If they contain antifungal agents such as clotrimazole and miconazole, then all the better to speed up recovery.
  3. Launder night clothes and sheets daily while the infection is still present. Avoid sharing towels, brushes, clothing, and other items for personal use with other people.
  4. Pets who have the infection must also receive treatment for it to avoid further spreading of the fungi.