Introduction to Ringworm
Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that is mostly spread from person to person by direct contact.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that is mostly spread from person to person by direct contact with the infected skin or with indirect contact from touching items that have been in contact with an infected person. It can also be spread from animals that have fungal infections on their skin or from contact with soil.
What are the causes for Ringworm?
Tinea Corporis fungi cause ringworm. This fungi thrives in warm, moist areas and is more likely if you have: wet skin for a long time, minor skin or nail injuries, do not wash your hair regularly or close contact with other people.
What are the symptoms of Ringworm?
The infected skin typically forms a rounded, inflamed, red area that gradually spreads outwards. The outer edge is more inflamed than the paler centre, which gives the appearance of a ring. Sometimes only one patch occurs, however sometimes several patches can occur especially if the infection is caught from an infected animal. The rash can become very itchy and inflamed depending on the type of fungus causing the infection.
Ringworm is often diagnosed when a doctor looks at the characteristic rash. However in some cases examination of a skin scraping under a microscope is necessary. Sometimes a skin biopsy or culture of the skin is required.
How is Ringworm treated?
Ringworm is treated using an antifungal cream. There are various types of antifungal creams including: clotrimazole, miconazole, econazole, ketoconazole and terbinafine. For skin that is badly inflamed an antifungal cream combined with a mild steroid cream can be used. This cream can be used for 7 days to reduce inflammation, itchiness and redness however the antifungal cream may be used for more than 7 days depending on if the infection has been cleared. An antifungal tablet may be taken by mouth if the infection is widespread or is severe. A General Practitioner can prescribe these medications. It is also important to keep the skin dry and clean to prevent future infections from occurring.