Ringworm: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

In the course of our daily routines, at home, along our career path and interactions, we come in contact with a lot of impurities which could turn out irritating to our skin or body.

You may never really tell if you contacted one or not, but time will always tell especially if you haven’t used a disinfectant in a while.

Virus, bacteria and fungi find their way into the human body by every possible means- a cut, bruise, air, heat, touch, handshake etc.; they grow and sometimes bread in there.

Their presence causes a lot of discomfort and embarrassment especially to youthful persons and the elderly; often evident via cough, sneeze, catarrh, rashes, dry skin, eczema, ringworm and the likes.

Ringworm seems to be the most irritating in the list and has just earned a place in this piece as a matter of fact.

What is ringworm?

Ringworm is a skin infection that forms a ring patch around the infected area of your physical body. It’s often round and reddish and sometimes dry, varies with skin type.

It could appear in various part of the victim’s body- the scalp, toe, body, fingers, nails or any part of the body; it is easily transmittable.

Victims of ringworm sing of its friendliness simply because it’s easily detectable and easy to treat.

Ringworm first appears very small and then expands its ring cycle as it gets severe.

Sometimes it is accompanied with some rash-like folds around the ring, making it really irritating and itchy at some point.

Ringworm is no respecter of age as both adults and children can become victims and as a matter of fact, it does kids the favor of clearing their hair without asking for a penny.

Types of Ringworm

Like underscored earlier, ringworm appears in various parts of the body, the scalp, (head), fingers, toe, nail, body; so clinically, the types of ringworm is named based on the part of the body they appear.

Therefore the types of ringworm are as follows;

Tinea capitis: This type of ring worm appears on the scalp; it is most prevalent among kids and is capable of dominating the affected area with reddish itchy rings, leaving little or no hair at all.

Tinea corporis: It is so called because it appears on the body- the back, limbs, neck, chest region and face.

Tinea pedis: This ringworm is so called because it affects the feet. Excessive wearing of tight shoes under a hot temperature induces tinea pedis.

Footballers, athletes and sports men mostly fall victim of tinea pedis because their foot wears hardly permit air to penetrate their feet during sports activities.

Tinea unguium: This ringworm could be found on the nail bed when it’s infected.

Causes of Ringworm

Ringworm is erroneously believed to be caused by some spider or cockroach bite; some would say ‘it’s a worm that missed its way around the body’; it means neither of these actually.

Ringworm is actually caused by the activities of fungi that feed on dead tissues of the skin which turns out infectious afterwards.

Your skin, just like mine has three basic layers, the first layer is called the epidermis, the second dermis and the third is called subcutaneous fat.

The epidermis makes cells and tones your complexion; dermis produces oil and moisture for skin protection while the subcutaneous fats fasten your skin to the muscles.

Now this is what happens! when any of those cells in the epidermis die off, for any reason without any room for replacements or repairs, such cell is open to fungi because they actually feed on them to survive ( they are parasites).

So when such happens, ringworm is the visible effect; it’s never a worm like the name implies.

In some other cases, people get infected with ringworm by contact; which means that it is communicable.

Fungi bread and blossom in heat; they size that opportunity to spread their claws on some other parts of the body or to someone else that establishes a close contact with the infected area.

The itchy nature of ringworm also makes it spread faster.

Other causes of ringworm includes

• Use of bleaching body creams that are too harsh on your skin; they forcefully tone your complexion and damage active cells along the line.

It causes a lot of skin damage and makes your skin open to fungi infection like ringworm.

• Close contact with infected pets like cats and dogs.

• Heat; fungi blossom in heat. No wonder sportsmen’s feet are at risk; some repeat wearing dirty socks and forget to dry their boots and canvas after sport activities.

• Close contact with an infected person through sweat or sharing of wearable materials.

• Exposure to polluted areas at playtime could induce the growth of fungi on the body particularly children.

Symptoms of Ringworm

Ringworm usually begins with circular rashes around the infected area, followed by the reddish ring-like folds of multiple rash sores; it looks quite intense and tempting to scratch at first sight.

It becomes itchy and redder as time progresses and even extends its circle; sometimes leaving a clear center.

Ringworm may begin with a single ring and multiply the number of rings with time; it may begin and remain as a single ring while in some other case may begin with multiple rings.

On the scalp or hairy skin, ringworm habitually colonizes the region it settles leaving no hair at all.

For kids that are very playful, the ringworm may appear dry, dusty and really itchy.

Risk Factors

Factors that could expose you to ringworm include;

• Use of multiple bleaching body creams.

• Wearing of dirty socks, stinking boots and sneakers.

• Pouring sands or using dirty sticks, leaves, dirty papers on scalp

• Close contact with infected areas of ringworm victim.

• Sharing damp materials like clothes, foot wears, jersey, caps, matrass etc. with infected person.

• Kissing or hugging infected pets, especially cats.

Differential Diagnosis

By the way, there are some other skin cases that one can actually mistake for ringworm; they take the form of ringworm but are really not.

My friend took a vaccine for fever some time ago and guess what?

Her skin showed off some reactions almost like that of ringworm, but this time, smaller ring-like cycles.

It was all over her neck and arms; she wore sleeved blouses till she was better again. You too may have experienced such.

Aside allergic reactions to drugs, gynecologists have pointed out such cases as nummular eczema; sounds a bit hard to pronounce.

Nummular eczema also appears in ring itchy patch but this time, very dry unlike ringworm. It spreads easily and faster than ringworm.

Usual routines as bathing and rubbing can spread this skin condition.

Another big-name- ringworm look alike is granuloma.

According to gynecologist, granuloma is actually not a skin infection; it’s just a skin reaction mostly in kids that comes and goes by itself.

Although it appears almost exactly like ringworm- round reddish patch, it is not itchy at all.

Treatment for Ringworm

I said this before, ringworm could be so nice that it is easily detectable and easy to treat; could be treated with kitchen remedies, culturally or pharmacologically.

If symptoms persist, it means something really serious; maybe something wrong with the immune; your doctor have to confirm that.

Since ringworm is basically caused by fungi activities, pharmacologically, it could be treated with antifungal creams.

Ringworm infection rarely affects the skin beyond the epidermis and so may not require so serious treatment.

Culturally however, the area affected with ringworm is usually scuffled out with a sharp object to ensure it gives a fresh surface followed by the use of water droplets from fresh pawpaw stem.

Sometimes, people use dark dust from thatch roofs on the scuffled surface; they believe this dark dust have medicinal powers against such skin infection.

Kitchen made remedies for ringworm include the use of ginger paste or garlic paste on the surface of the affected area.

Ginger and garlic are antibiotics; they are active when added in cooked food or eaten raw.

However, for better outcome, placing the damp paste directly on the affected surface is advisable.

Prevention of Ringworm

We can’t be all careful actually to avert fungal, bacterial and viral infections totally but some control measures will be necessary to take a preventive measure against such fungal infection as ringworm.

Some of which includes;

Staying away from infected house hold pets until they are treated accordingly.

• Wash and dry sports wears including socks, boots and sneakers; do not wear a damp socks or a foul-smelling boot.

• As much as possible, avoid contact with the affected area of ringworm victim.

Do not share damp materials with infected persons as ringworm bread in damp and warm conditions.

Eat healthy; healthy meals thwart the death of cells and in extension prevent the growth of fungi under your skin.

• As much as you can, do not use harsh body creams on your skin; use creams that mildly unfolds your skin complexion and glow.

From the way it sounds, ringworm may be assumed to be caused by some ‘round worm’ somewhere around your skin; but so glad you now know that ringworm is so called because of the shape it takes when it appears on the skin.

It’s caused by fungi breed under the first layer of the skin called epidermis.

Ringworm is treatable with home-made remedies or clinically but if the case persists, you may need to see your doctor for further medical confirmation and treatment.

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