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Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)
Despite the misnomer, ringworm is not caused by worms at all. It is, in fact, a fungal infection of the skin commonly treated by applying an antifungal cream. This article will further explain ringworm and how to cure ringworm.
What is ringworm?
Ringworm is an infection of the skin due to fungi. Further, different types of fungi could infect different areas of the body. For instance, the skin, nails, or hair.
How contagious is ringworm?
Ringworm is not contagious if you take the right precautions. If you happen to come in contact with a person who has ringworm, you are not likely to contract it as long as you wash your hands thoroughly soon after.
How can you get ringworm?
- By not washing hands after touching a person who has the infection.
- Also, by coming in contact with items that have been in contact with an infected person. For instance, fabric, towels, clothes, bed linen or chairs and utensils.
- From animals such as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and cattle, if they have fungal infections on their skin. Coming in contact with surfaces they may have touched is sufficient to transfer the fungal infection- fence, gate, even soil in rare cases.
Furthermore, make an appointment with your vet if you suspect a pet may have the condition.
What are the symptoms of ringworm?
- A small area of skin turns red and starts to spread outwards.
- The affected skin develops into a rounded, red, inflamed patch.
- The outer edge is more inflamed and red. But the center is paler. This causes it to look like a ring- hence the name.
- Sometimes only one patch of infection occurs, or there may be several patches all over the body (more so if you get it from an infected animal).
- The rash is likely to be inflamed and itchy.
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How to cure and treat ringworm
Various types and brands of antifungal creams are generally prescribed. For instance, clotrimazole and miconazole. They are quick and effective in clearing fungal skin infections. There is no conclusive research to suggest one cream is better than the other. Apply the cream over the affected area for as long as advised or as described on the label. This could be different for different creams. Thus, read the instructions carefully.
If the infection is acute or widespread, a doctor may prescribe oral antifungal medications. However, this is not suited for all people, including:
- Women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding.
- People with liver diseases.
- People at risk of heart failure.
- Those with a long-standing disease of the lungs.
- People over the age of 60.
- Persons taking other medication which may interact negatively with antifungal tablets.
- Young children.
General advice and tips:
- Keep the affected area clean and dry.
- Do not share towels or linen.
- Wash towels, sheets and clothes frequently using detergent.
- Clean your shower or bath well after use.
- Avoid scratching the rash or the affected area to prevent spreading to other areas of your body.
- You may attend work or school once treatment has commenced.