What Is Ringworm?
Ringworm (also known as tinea) is a common fungal skin infection that often forms a ring-shaped rash.
Does Ringworm Mean I Have Worms?
No. Ringworm doesn’t mean worms are crawling under the skin.
What causes Ringworm?
Certain fungi called dermatophyte live off the dead tissues of your skin, hair, and nails.
They flourish in warm, sweaty moist areas, such as the skin folds of the groin area or between the toes.
Ringworm most commonly affects the skin on the body(tinea corporis), the scalp (tinea capitis), the feet (tinea pedis, or athlete's foot), or the groin (tinea cruris, or jock itch).
Is Ringworm contagious ? How does it spread ?
Yes. Ringworm is highly contagious and can spread in multiple ways.
- You can get it from an infected person, animal, object and even soil.
- It spreads easily from person to person, especially in locker rooms and neighbourhood pools.
- Ringworm is so contagious, in fact, that you don't even have to touch someone to get infected.
- The fungus can linger in places like locker room floors,as well as on hats, combs, and brushes.
How can I get Ringworm from animals ?
Ringworm can be transmitted from animals to humans. Cats are among the most commonly affected animals. If a cat has ringworm, a person in the house often gets the infection. Dogs, cows, goats, horses can also spread ringworm to humans. People catch ringworm from touching the animals, or touching their bedding, grooming items, saddles, carpeting, etc.
Who are more likely to get Ringworm ?
People who are more likely to get Ringworm are :
- People who live in hot, humid climates
- Athletes, especially swimmers; wrestlers.
- Children in day care
- People who work with animals
- Obese people with deep, moist skin folds
- Anyone,whose immune defenses are weak either by illness e.g. HIV, organ transplant, cancer or by medications; nutritional deficiency, anemia, diabetes
What care should I take to avoid Ringworm ?
Ringworm is difficult to prevent, but here are tips to reduce your risk:
Hygiene at Home :
- To prevent fungal infections from taking a foothold at home, your best defense is to keep skin clean and dry.
- Change underwear and socks daily.
- Let your shoes air out.
- Take your shoes and socks off at home to expose your feet to the air.
Caring for Gym Clothes :
- Change out of your gym clothes right after a workout. Sweaty gear provides a perfect home for fungi to thrive and grow.
- Wash exercise clothes after each use.
- Wear clean clothes before each workout.
Gym and Locker Room Hygiene :
- Wear slippers in locker rooms and public pool & bathing areas.
- Avoid sitting on wet benches.
- Don't share workout mats, towels. sports gear or sheets.
- Wash your hands before and after a workout
- Wipe gym equipment before and after using it.
General Care :
- Shower after any sport that includes skin-to-skin contact.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing.
- Change your socks and underwear at least once a day.
- Keep skin clean and dry. Dry yourself completely after showering.
- If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your underwear to prevent spreading to your groin.
- Take your pet to the vet if it has patches of missing hair, which could be a sign of a fungal infection.
Is Ringworm serious?
Ringworm can be itchy and annoying, but they're rarely serious.
Common infections such as athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm are easy to get and to pass around. In healthy people, they usually don't spread beyond the skin's surface, so they're easy to treat.
Should only the infected person needs to be treated for Ringworm?
Since ringworm is so contagious, other people in the household may also need to be treated, even if they don't have any symptoms. If there's a chance they may have picked up ringworm of the scalp, they may need to use a special shampoo and be examined to determine if there is an infection.
If I get ringworm once and take treatment for it will I get it again ?
Yes, It's common to get infected again, especially with ringworm of the nails.
How Is Ringworm Treated?
Ringworm can be treated with antifungal creams containing clotrimazole etc. In cases of severe or resistant infections on the scalp or nails, your Dermatologist may prescribe oral medicines such as terbinafine, itraconazole .
Can Ringworm be treated with antibiotics ?
Antibiotics kill bacteria. They won't work on ringworm,which is caused by a fungus. Ringworm is treated with antifungal medicines that you either rub on the skin or take by mouth. Ringworm of the scalp is treated with a special shampoo and an oral antifungal medicine. You may have to keep using whatever medicine you're prescribed for several weeks to fully get rid of the infection.
Hope this information is useful to you.
Do not hesitate to visit a Dermatologist
Take proper adequate treatment for any type of fungal infection.