Ringworm is also called as dermatophytosis, which is a fungal infection that affect that affects skin on the body (Tinea corporis), scalp (Tinea capitis), groin area (Tinea cruris, also called jock itch), or feet (Tinea pedis). This disease is named after the ring type of rash that developed on the skin of infected person or animal. The disease has no correlation with worms.
In the beginning days doctors believed that it is caused by worms and hence it has name ringworm.
1800’s- Ringworm was highly contagious and little known that it is contagious. It is common in poor people who having poor diet and bad hygiene. During this time barbers were able to spread through infected person to another healthy person. It is because of low sanitation in razors and scissors.
1843- David Gruby described a fungus that causes certain ringworm.
1940- Studies started when the United States Military began contracting ringworm while stationed in the South Pacific during World War II.
In the 20th century, London had many special “ringworm” schools where schoolchildren would be brought to keep from getting Ringworm. Students were treated with x-ray therapy that helped ward off the infection. Although the x-rays helped to kill the fungus, the exposure became highly toxic.
Types of ringworm
- Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) frequently begins as little bruises that form into irritated, flaky uncovered patches. It is most regular among youngsters.
- Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) frequently shows up as patches with the round “ring” shape.
- Jock itch (tinea cruris) alludes to ringworm disease of the skin around the crotch, internal thighs, and rump. It is most basic in men and immature young men.
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is the name for ringworm disease of the foot. It is usually found in individuals who go shoeless in public places where the disease can spread, for example, locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools.
Transmission of ringworm
Ringworm can be transmitted in an indirect way by contact with items such as hair brushes, combs, stylist scissors, apparel that has defiled hair on it, and from benches and shower stalls utilized by an infected person. The fungi which cause ringworm can be transmitted by direct contact with infected person or with contaminated pets and domesticated animals.
Risk factors for ringworm in body include:
- Living in mild hot weather
- Having contact with the ringworm affected person
- Using others clothes, bedspreads and towels who have a fungal infection
- Skin to skin touch during sports activity
- Wearing prohibitive and tight clothing’s
- Low immune system will pay the way for ringworm infection
Fungi’s is the main cause of ringworm infection. There are three different types of fungi which causes this infection such as Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton. These fungi are possible to live in soil as spores. These spores can be spread in many different ways as follows
Human to human– Direct skin touches with the infected person.
Animal to human– Ringworm often spreads from animals like pet dogs, cats and adequately from cows. This is due to during petting and grooming animals.
Object to human– Ringworm infection will also spread from the objects which are recently used by infected persons such as clothes, combs, bedspreads and brushes
Human to soil contact- In erratic cases, infection can spread from the soil. Frequent infection occurs when it is contacted for long term with highly infected soil.
Depending on the place of infection the symptoms will vary.
- Red, itchy, scaly, or raised patches
- Rashes that develop blisters or begin to ooze
- Patches that may be redder on the outside edges or resemble a ring
- Rashes with edges that are clear and raised
The rashes can be varied based on the type of fungus that causes the infection. Sometimes it looks like other skin rashes as psoriasis.
Diagnosis and test
Diagnosing of ringworm is carried out by examining the external skin appearance and by using a black light to view infected skin area. When this black light spotted on infected area the fluorescence will glow from the area which is infected with fungi.
Your doctor will confirm the ringworm infection by doing tests and diagnosing
- Skin biopsy or fungal culture has been taken and send it to a lab test to find the presence of fungus
- If you are going to do KOH exam, the doctor will scrape small area of the infected skin and put it in potassium hydroxide. This KOH will destroy normal cells and leave fungal cells, then it is easy to identify under microscope
Treatment and medications
- Medication will vary depending upon the severity of infection. Topical medications such as antifungal creams, ointments, gels and spray are used for jock itch, athlete’s foot and ringworm of the body.
- Over-the-counter medications and antifungal skin creams may be recommended for use as well. Over-the-counter products may contain clotrimazole, miconazole, terbinafine, or other related ingredients.
- Micatin, Tinactin, Monistat, Lotrimin, Bentax, Butop (India) and Lamisil are the brand names of medicine which is used for ringworm treatment.
If the infection is not treatment, then blisters and cracks may form in the infected area and it may infect with germs. In this condition antibiotics are advised for treatment.
- Boil 10-15 Neem leaves in 3 cups of water until half the water gets evaporated. Wash the tinea lesions with this water.
- Rub papaya over the tinea lesions. It is very effective.
- Add little milk in turmeric and apply this mixture on tinea lesions. Wash away after half an hour. Do this 3 / 4 times a day.
- Make your skin always dry and clean. Change and clean your socks and underwear daily
- Avoid tight fit clothing’s such as underwear and pants. Wear loose clothing’s
- After bathing always dry your skin completely and allow your skin to air dry before wearing cloths
- Doesn’t share clothing’s such as towels, bed sheets and sports things. Wash your cloth in hot water with fungicidal soaps or powders
- Wear slippers or sandals during showering in public bathing
- After sports activity, bath completely
- In case person is infected with athlete’s foot, wear socks first before your underwear so that infection will not spread to your groin area and also after showering toweling off your feet last
- Pet animals in living area should be checked if it has missing hairs on the body which is the sign of ringworm infection