I would like to ward off the most common misunderstanding among many people and that is ringworm is not an infection caused by any worm. Ringworm lesions are the most common and also one of the cosmetically annoying fungal lesions. To get to know the ringworm well, we need to go through the basics of it.
Ringworm is a fungal infection, which is called tinea in medical terms. Ringworm, as the name suggests, is the name derived from the pattern of the lesion that develops in this disease. There is a ring-like lesion at one or more sites over the body. The sites could be anywhere in the body like scalp, face, trunk, back, groins, loins, buttocks, legs and in some cases palms and soles too. Depending upon the sites, the ringworm infection is given some medical terms. Tinea corporis or ringworm infection over the chest, back, arms and legs, Tinea capitis in the case of scalp involvement and Tinea cruris for lesion at groins and so on.
Age group for acquiring ringworm infection is not particular. Anyone from any age group can develop this infection, if the basic requirements for the growth are provided by the site where the fungus gets lodged. Though people with low immunity causing diseases like HIV, prolonged illness, etc., may acquire the infection quickly than the normal individuals.
Some professions are predisposed for acquiring and nurturing ringworm infection. Occupations involving heavy work leading to sweating like workers in a factory without proper ventilation, furnace workers, mine workers, professions involving prolonged sun exposure, jobs involving contact with dirt and dust such as sewer workers, swimming pool cleaners, etc.
The primary modality of acquiring this infection is contact with the person already having ringworm that is, it spreads mainly through direct contact. Other than infected humans one can get the infection by contact with unhygienic animals like pet dogs, cats, cows, etc. Apart from the above, sharing of improperly washed or sterilized clothing, combs and personal care items of the infected person and acquiring infections from closed humid closets and swimming pool surfaces have also been known though not as common.
The most important factors for thriving of this fungal infection over the body surface are the unhygienic habits. Moist, humid and unclean body surfaces provide the adequate and required components for the survival and growth of this fungus. Notably, the body folds like armpits, groins, loins, the sites of daily tight fastening of garments, etc., are the most common sites for ringworm infection.
When a person gets in contact with the infected part of the infected person, the fungal particles from the lesion gets lodged onto the superficial layer of the recipient’s skin. As mentioned previously, if the fungus gets the necessary requirements for its growth, then it starts growing in the superficial layer of the skin itself. The most important factor in the spread of this infection is the scratching, which develops due to the local reaction between the fungus and the body’s immune system. Whenever an individual scratches the lesion, some of the fungal particles stick to the fingers or the instrument used for scratching and get dislodged to a new site where the person touches after that. Similar is the cause for the increase in the size of the initial small lesion.
Most common and also the most significant complaint of an infected person is the itching of the contaminated site. Itching is constant and is aggravated by dryness and seasonal changes like in winter season. The other concern is the appearance of the lesion.
Lesion of the ringworm looks very similar to a ring. It can be described as a lesion having red granular border ring with center mildly red skin. The size of the ring increases progressively due to constant scratching. Though many times the lesion may look different from the typical description, because of many factors like the intensity of scratching, use of improper medications for application, home treatment by scorching the lesion with heat or hot instrument and other home treatments in some extreme cases.
The most important thing to avoid getting fungal infections is the maintenance of personal hygiene.
To end the topic, hygiene and cleanliness are the utmost important factors in prevention from ringworm infection as we all know that prevention is better than cure.
For more details of ringworm infection, consult a ringworm specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist/ringworm
Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018 - 4 min read
Query: Hello doctor, Kindly tell me some ayurvedic drugs for tinea cruris. I had the disease last year but I am having the symptoms again. Itching has not gone completely. I have used Onabet cream. In the past, I have been on Tyza and Atarax. Please help. Read Full »
Query: Hi doctor, For around nine weeks now, I have had a low grade fever and that persists. Also, I feel a little upper throat fullness and mild sinus congestion. I have been in and out of primary care clinics many times looking for help. I had two chest x-rays and they were clear. I also had blood test... Read Full »
Most Popular Articles
Do you have a question on Healthy Hygiene or Fungal Infection?Ask a Doctor Online