Dermatologists and Skin Care

The Manifestation of Ringworm Infection and Its Treatment

Written by Dr. Narendra and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

 
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Contents


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.

Risk Factors for Ringworm Infection

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.

How Does One Get Ringworm Infection

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.

Ringworm Manifestation

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.

Ringworm Treatment

  • Ringworm infection is completely treatable. First and the most important step in the treatment of ringworm is the diagnosis, which should be made by an authorized and expert doctor. Typical presentations with the typical lesions are sometimes misdiagnosed due to lack of expertise.
  • The second step is the treatment. Many people buy random medications and combination drugs directly from the medical stores or from quacks, which may lead to further worsening or appearance of new complaints like burning and blackening of the lesions. Certain over-the-counter market products are available for ringworm, but using them without proper medical supervision may not cure the infection completely. So in short, for the complete treatment of ringworm, consultation with an expert is a must.
  • Treatment for ringworm involves locally applicable antifungal creams and lotions along with the oral medications, which can be supported by other symptomatic treatment modalities for symptomatic relief. Duration of the treatment depends upon the choice of the medication by the doctor. Completion of the full course is a must for complete cure of ringworm.
  • Relapse is the most common troublesome issue with the ringworm infections and the most common reason for the same is that the patient does not complete the course thinking that symptomatic recovery implies infection has been eradicated. But, the fungus remains in the superficial layer of the skin and the itching would have stopped due to a decrease in its number and not due to eradication. Soon after aberrant stoppage of the treatment, the remaining fungal particles grow once again and the relapse occurs. Hence, completion of the full course is a must in case of ringworm infection.

Precautions to Avoid Ringworm

The most important thing to avoid getting fungal infections is the maintenance of personal hygiene.

  • Daily bathing with a proper lathering of soap applied to every part of body cleanses the superficial layer of skin, wipes out the dust and fungal particles if any and thus prevent fungus from lodging and growing on it.
  • Other things to follow are to avoid using items and personal care products of the infected individuals.
  • Should wash the clothes daily, especially when involved in a profession where a person sweats a lot.
  • Regular cleaning and bathing of the pets and domestic animals will prevent them and the individual from getting ringworm infection.

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

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