Overview | Stages | Types | Causes | Symptoms | Risks factors | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention |
Many of us may suffer ringworms at least once in their life. Some people become prone to ringworms because of their jobs or environment, which is more suitable to cause ringworms.
It doesn’t matter, whether you are facing ringworms for the first time or one of your many times, it troubles you a lot.
So here is all you need to know about ringworm and how to get rid of it.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a common fungal infection, which can be found on one’s skin, scalp, or nails. The fungus (which causes ringworm) feeds keratin, a kind of protein found in skin, hair, and nails. That’s why, our skin, hair, and nails get infected with ringworm.
Ringworm is a kind of rash, red in color and the most important characteristic of ringworm is its ring-like structure.
It is called ringworm because initially it was believed that ringworms are caused by a worm. Although, this is a false belief, as it is found that it is an infection caused by a worm.
And the itchy, red rash has a ring-like structure.
Is it Contagious?
Yes, ringworm is a contagious infection. It can spread from one person to the other through direct skin-to-skin contact, or sharing the essentials of the infected person to the other, such as clothes, razors, comb, etc. It can be spread through pets and crowded places (such as swimming pools etc.)
Fact: Ringworm is a common infection with 10 million cases per year in India.
Stages of Ringworm:
Initially, you may not feel like the itching is going to develop in ringworm. It may take approximately 2 weeks to look like ringworm specifically.
Ringworm appears in some stages, prominent ones are as follows —
- Initial stage – In this, you may observe pink or red colored patches on your skin. These patches may turn very dry and scaly sometimes. It may have no resemblance to ringworm
- The second stage – In this stage, you will notice the lesion begins to grow in size. The center of the rash may appear like healthy skin or may have some small rash/pimples, surrounded by a scaly area. If there are several rings, they may merge.
You must begin its treatment as soon as you come to know about it. Otherwise, it will grow and spread from one area to the other of your body, and then to another person from you.
Types of Ringworm:
The name of the types of ringworm depends on the location of their origin. Some of the types of ringworm are as follows —
- Tinea Corporis – This is the ringworm of the body. It often appears as a patch with a characteristic red, round ring shape.
- Tinea Cruris- This is also known as jock itch. It refers to the ringworm infection of the inner thighs, buttocks, and the skin around the groin area. This type is most common in men and adult boys.
- Tinea Pedis – When ringworm develops on the feet or its soles then it is considered as Tinea Pedis, commonly known as Athlete’s foot.
- Tinea Capitis – This is the ringworm of the scalp, which often starts as isolated scaling on the scalp that develops into itchy, scaly bald patches. It’s most common among children.
- Tinea unguium – It is the ringworm of the nail bed. Also known as onychomycosis.
Causes of Ringworm:
There are three types of fungi which can cause ringworm, these are —
These fungi live in soil and when a person or animal comes in contact with that soil with fungi, they get infected with fungi and develop ringworm.
Some other causes are as follows —
- Physical contact with an infected person with ringworm
- Physical contact with a pet (cat, dogs, etc.) having ringworm already
- Due to contact with the essentials of an infected animal or human, such as beddings, towels, comb, clothes, etc.
- Contact with such substances or places which has these fungi. Such as a swimming pool etc.
Children are more affected to ringworm than adults.
Symptoms of Ringworm:
Differenttypes of Ringworm has different symptoms, such as —
- Small patches of scaly skin appear on the scalp
- Patches may feel tender or painful
- Inflamed patches
- Breakage of hair on and around the patches
- Formation of large installed sore sin the scalp, which may ooze pus.
Skin (or body) Ringworm
- Rashes with a ring-like appearance
- The skin may look inflamed and red around the outside of the ring, but the skin at its center looks fine.
- Rings may feel slightly raised
- Merging of small rings together
- Itchiness, especially under the rash
Beard Area Ringworm
- Hair loss
- Redness, swelling, and pus-filled bumps
- Raw and open skin
- Raised, soft, spongy oozing patches
- Swollen glands
Groin Area Ringworm
- Itchiness, especially in and around the groin
- Flaky and scaly skin on the inner thighs
- Redness and a burning sensation in the affected area
- Experiencing pain and irritation while walking, running, or exercising
- The right clothing makes symptoms worse.
Risks Factors and Complications:
- Visiting such places which can transmit fungi to others
- Warm, moist, and favorable areas for the growth and spread of fungi
- Under 15 years of age
- The weak or compromised immune system
- Certain medications that can decrease the immune system
- Living in a warm and humid climate
- Being close to the infected people and animals
- Being hyperhidrosis
- Wearing tight clothes
Your doctor will diagnose your ringworm by examining it under a black light, to view your skin under the affected area. Because its fungus glows under the light depending upon its type. Some tests can be prescribed to get an accurate diagnosis. Tests may include —
- Skin biopsy
- Fungal culture
- KOH exam
- Skin scraping etc.
Treatment of ringworm depends upon the type and area infected with it. Treatment options based on the type are—
- Scalp ringworm
- Oral antifungal tablets such as terbinafine etc.
- Anti-fungal shampoo
- Skin and groin ringworm
- Anti-fungal creams
- Oral medications (prescribed by the doctor only)
There are many other ways also to treat ringworm, but the treatment must be prescribed by your doctor only. Taking treatment without consulting you doctor may worsen your condition.
- Wear clothes of accurate measurement, not too tight
- Don’t share essentials with other
- If your pet is infected, treat it by a vet.
- Maintain hygiene
- Wash your hands often in a day
- If someone is infected in your family, don’t share essentials with them.
- Don’t scratch the infected area with ringworm, it will increase it.
- Avoid walking bare feet in the garden or such places
- Always wear properly dried clothes. If your clothes get wet, change them as soon as possible.
- Wear your clothes only after drying your skin after bath, properly.