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Fungal Skin Infection (Ringworm)

  • Posted on- Jul 28, 2017
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Ringworm infection can affect both humans and animals. The infection initially presents with red patches on affected areas of the skin and later spreads to other parts of the body. The infection may affect the skin of the scalp, feet, groin, beard, or other areas.

  • The infection is caused by fungus, not any worm
  • Ringworm occurs in people of all ages, but it is particularly common in children.
  • It occurs most often in warm, moist climates. Ringworm is a contagious disease and can be passed from person to person by contact with infected skin areas or by sharing combs and brushes, other personal care items, or clothing.
  • It is also possible to become infected with ringworm after coming in contact with locker room or pool surfaces.
  • The infection can also affect dogs and cats, and pets may transmit the infection to humans.


Symptoms

Symptoms of ringworm:

Symptoms vary depending on where you’re infected. With a skin infection, Following symptoms may be seen:

  • Red, itchy, scaly, or raised patches
  • Patches that develop blisters or begin to ooze
  • Patches that may be redder on the outside edges or resemble a ring
  • Patches with edges that are defined and raise
  • If ringworm is experienced in nails, they may become thicker or discoloured, or they may begin to crack.
  • If the scalp is affected, the hair around it may break or fall off, and bald patches may develop.

Diagnosis of ringworm:

  • A ringworm id diagnosed by simple physical examination, but in certain cases some other tests may be done. Which include:
  • Skin biopsy or fungal culture, where doctor will take a sample of the skin or discharge from a blister and check it for the presence of fungus.
  • KOH exam, in this case doctor will scrape off a small area of infected skin and place it in potassium hydroxide (KOH). The KOH destroys normal cells and leaves the fungal cells untouched, so they’re easy to see under a microscope.

Types of ringworms:

Ringworm can have different names depending on the part of the body affected.

  • Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) often starts as small sores that develop into itchy, scaly bald patches. It is most common among children.
  • Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) often appears as patches with the characteristic round “ring” shape.
  • Jock itch (tinea cruris) refers to ringworm infection of the skin around the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. It is most common in men and adolescent boys.
  • Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is the common name for ringworm infection of the foot. It is frequently seen in people who go barefoot in public places where the infection can spread, such as locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools.

Causes of ringworm:

  • Three different types of fungi can cause this infection. They are called trichophyton, microsporum, and epidermophyton.
  • These fungi may live for an extended period as spores in soil. Humans and animals can contract ringworm after direct contact with this soil.
  • The infection can also spread through contact with infected animals or humans. The infection is commonly spread among children and by sharing items that may not be clean.

Risk factors of ringworm:

  • Anyone can get ringworm infection. But, the infection is very common among children and people who own pet cats. Both cats and dogs can catch ringworm and then pass it on to humans who touch them.
  • People may develop ringworm if they come into contact with the fungi while they are wet or have minor skin injuries or abrasions. Using a public shower or public pool areas may also expose anyone to the infective fungi.
  • Being barefoot often, ringworm of the feet (athlete’s foot) may be developed. Those who often share items such as hairbrushes or unwashed clothing also have an increased risk of developing the infection


Treatment

Treatment of ringworm:

  • Tropical treatment- Use of antifungal cream externally can cure ringworms in two weeks. Some of such creams may include contain clotrimazole (Cruex cream, Desenex cream, Lotrimin cream, lotion, and solution), miconazole (Monistat-Derm cream), ketoconazole (Nizoral cream), econazole (Spectazole), naftifine (Naftin) etc.
  • Systematic treatment- Some cases may not respond to external treatment. In such cases anti-fungal tablet may be given, which may include terbinafine, itraconazole (Sporanox), and fluconazole (Diflucan). Oral medications are usually given for a three-month course.

Ringworm is a preventable codition, certain treatment and prevention can cure a patient in 2 weeks to 1 month.

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