Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that forms on the body in the form of a rash. It is also known as “athlete’s foot” and “jock itch“. It is a type of skin infection that is seen in the form of a ring-like structure. It causes a circular rash with clear skin in the middle. That’s why it is named “Ringworm“. It is often itchy and scaly. It mainly affects the feet and head but can happen anywhere in the body like nails, neck, trunk, hand, etc., where the particular fungus gets the proper environment to grow and feed.
However, the healing of ringworm is not as fast as other infections. It will require time and patience. Sometimes, when it’s healing, it looks scaly, and the rash looks less reddish.
1. Characteristics of Ringworm
Ringworms are immensely contagious. It is a highly communicable disease.
1.1. Thrives in Humid Areas
These fungi thrive and grow where there are warm, moist, humid, and damp areas. This is why it is generally found to grow in summer.
1.2. Common in Sweaty Areas
The more common areas to get affected by fungus are the areas in which sweat i.e. buttocks, skin folds, groin areas, and between the toes.
1.3. Skin-to-Skin Contact
Usually, it is caused because of skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or pets (kittens, puppies, dogs, cats, cows, goats) Indirect contact with any item that is infected i.e., barber clippers, towel, comb, beds and so on. Touching and scratching the infected area repetitively and then touching other parts of the body leads to spreading the infection to the other parts.
1.4. Curable Disease
However, while the healing process of ringworm is not quick, ringworm is a curable disease. It’s a time-consuming procedure though, and the skin looks dry, flaky, and cracked during the process of healing. One should not scrap or scratch it in between.
2. Types of Ringworm
There are different types of ringworm. Each of them has some varieties and differences. Some of the majorly found ringworms are:
2.1. Body Ringworm
It is caused by the fungus called ” tinea corporis“. It can affect anywhere on the body. It forms a rash that looks ring-shaped. These rashes are itchy and red. It happens to people of all ages, but children are more prone to this.
2.2. Foot Ringworm
It is caused by the fungus (tinea pedis). It is also recognized as “Athlete’s foot“. Sweating and not drying the feet after swimming, bathing, and playing are the contributing causes of this infection. It forms an itchy rash on the feet followed by the whitening and scaling of skin between the toes.
2.3. Groin Ringworm
Also known as “jock itch“, groin ringworm is caused by the “tinea cruris“, another fungus. As the name suggests, the main site of this type of ringworm is the groin area which usually happens in adult men. It causes the occurrence of reddish-brown rashes in the groin areas. It is itchy and it might be hard to cure. It is advisable to immediately see a dermatologist if symptoms are recognized.
2.4. Scalp Ringworm
It is caused by the fungus, tinea capitis. It is highly contagious, and it especially tends to happen in children. It is an itchy and scaly rash on the scalp which causes hair loss on the scalp of the affected area. I Recommend seeing a dermatologist to avoid worsening conditions.
2.5. Nail Ringworm
Caused by “tinea unguium“, nail ringworm is a fungal infection that occurs in the nails. It makes the nails look yellow, brittle, and thick. The toenails are more prone than the fingernails to this condition.
3. Symptoms of Ringworm
Ringworm is mainly a red rash that is ring-shaped. It tends to form a scaly, patchy, and bumpy structure. It is extremely itchy and usually starts small but later begins to contract and grows larger in circular form with clearer skin in the middle. It is also highly contagious which is why it starts spreading to other body parts too.
4. Causes of Ringworm
- Skin-to-skin contact with the infected person or having close contact with infected pets and animals.
- Sharing personal stuff like towels, bedsheets, comb, clothing, razor, etc. with the infected person.
- Wearing tight clothes leads to sweating.
- Living in a hot and humid climate.
- Weak immune system.
5. Treatment for the Healing of Ringworm
Treatment of ringworm includes self-care, antifungal creams (without steroids), soap, lotion, and tablets as prescribed by the dermatologists.
It is necessary to avoid the circumstances and conditions which lead to the growth of fungus. Maintaining personal hygiene and keeping the infected area clean and dry is mandatory. It is also essential to have a proper diet to build a stronger immune system for fighting against the pathogens of the ringworm.
6. What Does Ringworm Look Like When it is Healing?
Once the treatment starts, usually within 2-3 days change is noticeable.
- It’ll be less itchy.
- The skin lesion fades.
- The rash looks dry and flaky.
- Ring caused by fungus will start to decrease. Gradually it becomes smaller.
- Red and brownish spots are witnessed in places where infection was caused in many instances.
- Clearer skin can be seen.
- The rash starts diminishing when the ringworm is healing.
Even if the rash goes away after treatment, one should continue the medications for a few more weeks as prescribed by the doctor.
7. Final Words
So basically, a ringworm is not a worm. It is a fungal infection that causes a ring-shaped rash with clearer skin in the center. It is highly contagious. Thus, one should maintain personal hygiene and eat a healthy and balanced diet. Immediate treatment is necessary. It is advisable to see a doctor when the signs of infection are noticed. Ringworms are curable and can be treated with medicines such as antibiotics. Diminishing rashes can be seen as a healing process. Itchiness will also be lessened. The area of the circular ring caused by the ringworm decreases. These signs can identify what a ringworm looks like during its healing stages. Click here to read more.