Contrary to what many people may believe, ringworm is caused by a fungus and not a worm. Also commonly referred to as tinea or dermatophytosis, ringworm appears as a scaly red rash on a hidden part of the skin. It causes a lot of itching and in some cases peeling of the skin. Tinea is highly contagious, especially through the sharing of a comb or clothes. As well as being contagious to others, it is likely that other patches will sprout on parts of the body not originally infected. It is common in children, although anyone is susceptible to the disease. The spread and occurrence of ringworm is higher in conditions of a warmer climate. Ringworm also infests common pets like dogs and cats. To ensure that you completely cure the disease, it is important that you also take control measures for your pets. However, this article mainly discusses ringworm in humans.
What causes ringworm in the scalp and body?
The fungi responsible for ringworm in the scalp and body are of three kinds. Like in all fungus infections, ringworm is spread when one comes into contact with particular fungi’s spores. As a fun fact, the fungus is actually growing on your skin, with the results being felt as the ringworm.
Experts believe that fungi spores can survive for long periods in the soil. After directly contacting the soil, individuals get infected. However, it is the fact that ringworm is highly contagious that is responsible for most of the reported cases. There are several types of ringworm. They can be identified with the unique way of naming them in accordance to the part of the body they typically affect.
- Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) – It usually appears as ringworm on the neck. Rashes develop in a circular or ring-like pattern on the affected area of the skin. It tends to develop in areas around the face, such as the chin, neck, cheeks, nose, ears and eyes.
- Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) – Characterized by scaly patches on the scalp, this type of ringworm is most common in kids. To differentiate from common dandruff, ringworm of the scalp causes hair loss on the affected areas, leaving bald patches.
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) – Affects the feet. Common in people who rarely make use of foot wear. In some extreme cases, it can cause complete peeling of the more protected parts of the foot, such as between the toes.
- Jock itch (tinea cruris) – Mainly attacks groins, thighs and genital areas. You can distinguish it by looking for patterns on your inner thighs or buttocks.
Ringworm symptoms in humans
In all types of ringworm, there will be scaly, red patches which are concentrated inside small ring-like patterns on the skin. Common symptoms include itching and dehydration of the affected parts.
Scaling of the scalp similar to dandruff, except that it is accompanied by complete hair loss on the affected areas, is a common symptom of scalp ringworm. You can look at pictures of scalp ringworm to get the best idea of what it looks like.
Small red patches forming inside ring-like secluded parts of the skin, especially the neck, are common symptoms of ringworm of the body. Some of the patches may build up slowly but steadily while others may form rapidly.
Other common ringworm symptoms include peeling skin, irritable skin, itching, dry feet, oozing small skin blisters, patchy hair loss, and irritation of the skin between your toes. There are some more severe forms in which ringworm sometimes appears. It is important that you get the necessary help if you notice any of the above symptoms. For example, some severe forms of athlete’s foot might take over the whole of your foot and cause the entire protective layer of the skin to peel off. It is also necessary to get ringworm treatment to avoid spreading it to those close to you.
Best ringworm treatment home remedies
Some home remedies can be applied to specifically act as ringworm treatment. Some can be applied to act as general antifungal remedies. Whichever the case, below are the best home remedies for ringworm treatment.
- Garlic – It takes a period of about 4 weeks to completely get rid of ringworm with garlic. This remedy requires you to add a little olive oil to some garlic cloves and apply the paste to the affected areas.
- Apple cider vinegar – An anti-bacterial as well as an anti-fungal remedy, apple cider vinegar will get rid of ringworm completely. You may want to combine this remedy with coconut oil for best results.
- Tea tree oil – When it comes to how to get rid of ringworm with home remedies, tea tree oil is often recommended. The best thing is that it is cheaply available.
- Papaya – A tasty fruit, which is yellow when ripe, papaya has for long been known to cure ringworm. Its application is not complicated. All you need to do is rub the fresh parts of the fruit on the affected areas.
- Lavender and carrier oil – It is recommended that you use these essential oils together. Preferably, mix 4 drops of lavender oil with 1 teaspoonful of carrier oil.
How to treat ring worm with cream and medication
Fungal infections like ringworm are easy to treat with anti-fungal creams or over the counter medication. In fact, a period of two weeks is enough to get rid of even the most obvious ringworm infestations. For a start, you can consider learning more on how to remove fungus at home or with over the counter products.
If you have been using a cream to little or no success for more than two weeks, quit using it. Preferably, go for over the counter medication prescribed for treating ringworm. It is advisable that you get directions from a doctor on how to get rid of ringworm using prescribed medication. Additionally, ensure that you do not drop your dosage intake even after the rash has cleared.
Below are some anti-fungal medications that can be used as ringworm treatment.
- Allylamines products – You can access them in different forms. You can opt to start with the cream. If that fails to work, move on to the pills.
- Griseofulvin – Only available in the form of pills, this medication will require you to have a prescription from a doctor. It is not available over the counter.
- Azoles – A good number of these medications can be accessed over the counter. They should be taken orally.
- General anti-fungal – As already mentioned, ringworm is purely fungal. This means that any professionally prescribed anti-fungal will successfully get rid of it. However, never try out an anti-fungal if you have not discussed it with your doctor. It may end up causing some undesired side effects.
Ensure that you get clinical direction on how to use these ringworm remedies.
Ringworm on neck; cause and treatment for ringworm on the face
The face and the neck area are common places for a ringworm occurrence. Although ringworm does not pose any major health concerns, it ruins both the appearance and texture of our skin. This is even worse when ringworm occurs on the face, for it makes it hard to let photos be taken, as well as decreasing your confidence to appear in public places.
Major symptoms for this type of ringworm include:
- Reddened part of skin infested with an itching rash. With time, the rash may start oozing or become painful.
- Itchy bumps around the outer regions of an area infested by the rash. The bumps are usually red and keep increasing in size and amount the more you irritate them. They usually range at an average size of 1-5 cm.
- Bordered rashes on cheeks, forehead, ears, or even the nose; in many cases, the center of the rash will take a similar pigment as your skin. At the edges, the rash takes a ring-like or circular border, a feature that gives it the name ‘ringworm’. Ringworm also infests eyes and the chin.
- Scaling and peeling of the skin, especially after hours of being exposed to direct sunlight. It may require you to browse through various images of ringworm on face to get a clear picture.
Ringworm on the neck or any part of the face can be easily treated with over the counter medicine. An anti-fungal cream can also easily do away with ringworm with the right application. You can try any of the following over the counter creams: Miconazole, Terbinafine or Clotrimazole.
You will need to apply the lotion or cream to the affected areas. Keep applying them consistently for a period of about two weeks. If there is no improvement, it is advised that you visit a doctor and get a prescription ringworm medicine. It is important to note that ringworm may infest various parts of the body at the same time. Therefore, ensure that you examine yourself for any other ringworm infestations not noticed before.
Avoid sharing clothes, combs, or coming into close contacts with uninfected members of the family or friends. It is due to the fact that ringworm is highly contagious that it is hard to get rid of once and for all especially in kids.