Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that is highly contagious. It can quickly spread after skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal. It can also spread through items such as clothes, towels, and sporting gear.
Causes of Ringworm
- Trichophyton Rubrum
Contrary to the impression you'll get from its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm. Instead, it is caused by a fungus called Trichophyton Rubrum that lives and spreads on the topmost layer of the hair and skin.
- Microsporum Canis
It can also be brought about by another form of fungus Microsporum Canis, which is spread by dogs and cats. Fungi love warm and moist areas like swimming pools, locker rooms or skin folds.
- Skin-To-Skin Contact
If you have skin-to-skin contact with a person suffering from this fungal infection, you can easily be infected.
- Using Shared Items
If you borrow items from a person with ringworm and use it on you, the risk for acquiring this fungal infection becomes significantly high.
It's good to know that most ringworm cases can be treated at home with the use of over-the-counter antifungal creams. Popular topical antifungals include:
Usually, the rashes clear up after you start the treatment. However, it's essential that you continue using the cream as indicated in the label or as advised by the doctor. Generally, you'll need to go on with the treatment for two to four weeks. This would prevent the infection from recurring.
If the cream is not effective, go to your doctor to ask prescription for antifungal pills that can kill the fungus causing the infection. Common oral treatments include:
- azoles like fluconazole (Diflucan)
- allylamines like terbinafine (Lamisil)
- griseofulvin (Fulvicin U/F, Grifulvin V)
If not treated, the rashes can develop into blisters and cracks that are susceptible to bacteria. When bacterial infection occurs, you will need to take antibiotics.
How to Treat Ringworm
1) First, you wash the rash with mild soap and water. Dry thoroughly. If blistered sores are large, apply compresses made with Burow's solution to dry out the blisters. These compresses can be purchased without a prescription.
2) After that, apply the antifungal cream at the edge or border of the rash. Be sure to follow the directions stated in the package.
3) If symptoms do not improve after two weeks, call up your doctor to get prescription for antifungal pills, as mentioned above.
4) During treatment, prevent the spread of infection by avoiding areas like swimming pools and activities that would require skin-to-skin contact such as wrestling. If you need to engage in wrestling, wear a protective bandage over the affected area. Make sure that mats and other practice areas are disinfected thoroughly after practice.