What is Ringworm?
Ringworm, or tinea, is a common fungal infection that appears on the skin. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with worms. The name comes from the characteristic red, ring-like rash it causes.
Who’s at Risk for Ringworm?
Anyone can get ringworm, but it's more common in children and people who have close contact with animals. People with weakened immune systems are also at a higher risk.
What Causes Ringworm?
Ringworm is caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes that live on the dead tissues of the skin, hair, and nails.
How Does Ringworm Start?
Ringworm starts as a fungal spore that is passed from person to person, animal to person, or from objects that have been in contact with the fungus like towels, clothing, or combs.
What Are the Symptoms of Ringworm?
Ringworm typically causes a red, scaly, and itchy rash that forms a ring-like pattern. The center of the rash may be clear, giving it the appearance of a ring. The rash can appear on different parts of the body, including the scalp, feet (athlete's foot), and groin area (jock itch).
How is Ringworm Diagnosed?
Ringworm is diagnosed based on the appearance of the rash. The doctor may also take a skin scraping or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis under a microscope or with a fungal culture.
How Can Ringworm Be Treated?
Ringworm is typically treated with antifungal creams or ointments applied directly to the skin. For more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe antifungal pills.
What Complications May Occur with Ringworm?
If left untreated, ringworm can lead to a more severe or widespread fungal infection. It can also lead to skin discoloration.
How Can I Prevent Ringworm?
Prevention strategies include keeping the skin clean and dry, not sharing personal items like combs or towels, and avoiding close contact with people or pets that have the infection.
Long-term Management of Ringworm
Ringworm is usually resolved with treatment, but it can recur. Long-term management involves maintaining good hygiene and taking preventive measures to avoid reinfection.
What is Recent Research Saying About Ringworm?
Recent research is focused on better understanding the fungus that causes ringworm and developing more effective antifungal treatments. Some studies are looking into the potential of certain natural compounds as antifungal agents.
Where Can I Go For More Information on Ringworm?