Ringworm: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

What causes Ringworm?

This superficial skin disease can be caused by three different types of fungi named trichophyton, microsporum, and epidermophyton. They are possible to live for a prolonged period as spores in soil where after humans and animals directly approach, they can catch Ringworm. Dogs and cats are also able to be infected with it.

The fungus leading to this ring-shaped rash will remain outside of the body at all times. Because of the fungus growing on the skin, the disease is established and then spreads out in rings. The center of the ring may clear up, while a new ring grows at the edge of the old ring.

The infections can then spread through contact with infected animals or humans.

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Ringworm can be expanded because of some risk factors which may include:

– Contacting directly with an affected animal consisting of a pet or the soil,

– Living in a warm, humid climate,

– Having a weakened immune system (such as from HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or particular medications),

– Being athletes involved in contact sports, such as wrestling,

– Sweating in tight clothing,

– Using public showers or locker rooms,

– Sharing bedding, towels, or clothing or contacting closely with a person infected.

How is Ringworm diagnosed?

To diagnose the disease, the clinical exam is commonly used. The doctor will exam your skin and perhaps use a black light to view your affected skin since the fungus glow under black light.

If the diagnosis is not clear to the treating physician, the doctor may graze the lesion’s active border with a scalpel blade and then check the sample of scrapings under a microscope.

One more particular test you may be required to confirm the disease is the KOH exam. Your doctor will scrape off a small surface of your infected area and place it in potassium hydroxide (KOH).

How is Ringworm treated?

Ringworm, however, is fairly easy to treat. Depending on the seriousness of your infection, the doctor will decide which treatment is best for you. The physician may prescribe diverse medications including ketoconazole which is a often used prescription strength cream. Over-the-counter products containing clotrimazole, miconazole, or other related ingredients are usually recommended.

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You may be prescribed antibiotics, as well, if you have developed staph or strep infection of the skin because of scratching.

Severely infected or deep ulcers may require surgical drainage.

What is the home treatment?

Beside prescription and over-the-counter medication, your doctor may suggest you to practice some behaviours at home to take care of your infection. You should ask your doctor for advice before using natural remedies. They may include:

– Using antifungal creams or ointments beyond the edge or border of the rash,

– Avoiding clothing that irritates the infected area,

– Avoiding touching suspicious lesions,

– Washing bedding and clothes daily during the infection,

– Washing hands and body frequently as well as laundering the linens and clothes of the infected family member separately,

– Cleaning and drying frequently your skin.

Remember not to stop using the medicine merely due to the disappearance of symptoms. You still need to keep the treatment for 2 to 4 weeks.

Ringworm of the scalp may be cured with shampoo with selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, or ketoconazole.

You can also utilize apple cider vinegar due to its natural antifungal properties even though it may take more time to be effective than medications. It could be effective for mild cases or sting as applied to the skin.

If symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks, immediately call your doctor.

Can Ringworm be prevented?

Ringworm is contagious and easily spread from one person to another, but you still can prevent it by practicing sanitary behaviors.

– Washing hands after contacting with animals including pets,

– Keeping pets’ areas clean and disinfected,

– Avoiding those who are suspected or confirmed to be infected, especially since you have a weak immune system,

– Avoiding sharing personal items including clothing, hairbrushes and so on,

– Wearing flip-flops on your feet in the locker room shower or at the pool,

– After showering, dry off completely,

– Keeping your skin clean and dry.

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