. Ringworm, according to experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a pretty widespread infection affecting approximately 20 percent of the public at any given time. It could just be a small pimple-like growth on the arm, but in other cases, it could be a raging infection affecting large parts of the body. What is ringworm? How can a person get infected?
There are already hundreds of thousands of literature out there about this fungal infection, but quite a few misleading information still prevail. Lets try to separate the facts from the myths.
What is ringworm? What causes it?
Ringworm, is caused by mold-like fungi referred to as dermatophytes. Its not in anyway caused by worms as many seem to believe. These fungi are present on the skin of animals and people and in the soil. These creatures live off the keratin protein in the outer layer of our skin and thrive in moist, warm, and unclean conditions. An infection will start when the fungi begins to increase in large numbers through an opening in the dermal layer like a cut or a scratch, for example.
What is ringworm? What are its symptoms?
Ringworm often starts as a minute slightly bumpy growth on your skin. As it develops, it takes on a reddish coloring and grows in size. The spot may be very itchy compelling the person to scratch it for some relief, which could result in providing the fungus with more opening in the skin layer in which to spread. As the infection expands, it now begins to look like a ring with reddish scaly edges enclosing healthy looking skin in the center. Bald spots in the head with a few cut-off hair (black spots) are often observed in children with scalp ringworm.
Ringworm infections are categorized according to which parts of the body are affected. Tinea corporis or ringworm of the body can be found in the trunk of the body as well as in the extremities like the arms and the legs. Tinea capitis or ringworm of the scalp occurs in the head and is common in children, as mentioned above. Tinea pedis or ringworm of the feet, also commonly known as athletes foot is normally found in the damp areas between the toes, on the soles or sides of the feet.
Is ringworm contagious? As a matter of fact, it is. Scratching the affected area can spread the ringworm to other parts of the body. Fungal spores will also attach themselves to your fingertips and may be transmitted to other family members through direct skin contact. Tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp) in particular, which mostly affect prepubescent children, is extremely contagious.
What is ringworm? How do you cure this infection?
Many types of ringworm like athletes foot, jock itch, and tinea corporis are not difficult to cure and will respond well to home care ringworm treatment using over-the-counter ointments or powders. Some of the OTC anti-fungal brands are: Lamisil,Tinactin, Monistat, and Lotrimin.
There are a few types of ringworm infection that may be more difficult to treat. Self-medication using over-the-counter sprays or creams may not work very well to treat ringworm of the scalp, fingernails, or toenails. The fungal growth in such cases may be hard to reach using topical creams or may have developed resistance to common anti-fungal remedies such as certain species of the the fungi that cause scalp ringworm. Systemic drugs, like Grifulvin or Sporanox, may be recommended by your doctor to combat the infection.
What is ringworm? Its just a fungal infection and ringworm cure is easy to administer – definitely not a cause for alarm. With a few practical steps in personal hygiene, this infection can be prevented without any difficulty.