Ringworm is a fungus that causes infection of the skin and nails. It is called “ringworm” because of the presence of an itchy, red, circular rash. It is also called “tinea” or “dermatophytosis.”
According to the location of affected areas, the fungus is named,
- Feet (tinea pedis)
- Groin, inner thighs, or buttocks (tinea cruris)
- Scalp (tinea capitis)
- Beard (tinea barbae)
- Hands (tinea manuum)
- Toenails or fingernails (tinea unguium) – called onychomycosis
- Any other parts of the body (tinea corporis)
Causes of Ringworm
Various species of fungi can cause ringworm; a few types of fungi that cause ringworm are Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton.
Symptoms of Ringworm infections
Affects mostly the fingernails and toenails; the affected areas will have,
- Itchy skin
- Ring-shaped rash
- Red, scaly, cracked skin
- Hair loss
And it will occur in 4 to 14 days after first contact.
- Feet (tinea pedis or “athlete’s foot” ): The symptoms will be present between the toes (especially between the toe and the one next to it). Sometimes it spreads to the sole and heel of the foot.
- Scalp (tinea capitis): In this case, usual symptoms occur, causing circular bald spots. It can grow in size, and multiple spots might develop if the infection spreads. Children are affected more when compared to adults.
- Groin (tinea cruris), also known as “jock itch“: It is the infection on the groin where scaly, itchy and red spots appear on the inner sides of the skin folds of the thigh.
- Beard (tinea barbae): Same symptoms on the cheeks, chin and upper neck are seen, where the spots may become crusted or pus-filled, and the affected hair may fall out.
Ringworm prevention and treatment
Who gets ringworm?
- Persons who have weakened immune systems may be especially with Diabetes Mellitus.
- Family members having a similar disease.
- People who use tight footwear and have excessive sweating.
- Any close contact with animals.
How can I prevent ringworm?
- To Keep skin clean and dry.
- Finger and toenails to be cut and kept clean.
- Socks and innerwear to be frequently changed.
- Not to share the same clothing, towels, sheets or other personal items of the affected person.
- To wash hands cleanly after soiling, especially after playing with pets.
- As a sports person, shower immediately after the play, keep sports gear and uniform clean and don’t share them with others.
- Consult a dermatologist for treatment.
The chance of recurrence is high for people who don’t have adequate hygiene. The person should be aware of what kind of infection he has to get treated first hand and stop the spread. Whatever the reason may be, never ignore such a type of skin infection as it would result in severe complications.