What is ringworm?
The alternative name of ringworm is “tinea” or “dermatophyte infections”. It is a fungal infection which may affect on skin, nails or scalp. The varieties of fungus are involved for progression of ringworm in different area of the body. The infection is develops on the upper skin surface.
Image 1 : How ringworm develops
The funguses are tiny organism which cannot see with our naked eye and they live on keratinized layer of the skin for lodging. It is a contagious disease and can occur at any age. Direct contact with infected person causes transmission of the infection to another person. The immune suppressed individual, diabetic patients or children are more susceptible towards this infection. The warm, humid climate is favourable condition to grow this type of infection. In this infection no worm is involved.
How does it look like?
Ringworm affects the outer surface of the body. The funguses grow on dead skin layer. They are unable to enter into internal part of the skin, but they form a small rounded inflamed patch on the upper surface. The edge of the rounded area is scalier and swelled which marked the affected area. The interior of the rounded area has multiple layers.
Image 2: How Ringworm looks Like
The number of patches varies, some are having only one patch and some may have many. Mostly when one patch is ended then from edge of the infection another patch is generated and central part of previous patch is gradually clear up. The shape of the patch is similar like a ring and for this reason the infection is termed as ringworm.
After development of infection, the ring become red and gradually turned to dark colour. This causes too much itching and sometimes it turned into irritating blisters. Depending upon the type of fungus the infection symptoms are little bit differ. Some cause hair loss, or scaling on the scalp and some is affected in other part of the body. Ringworm only occurs in dry skin. Causative fungi cannot live in the wet region such as inside the mouth, nose or vagina where mucous membranes are present.
The Transmission of Ringworm
Ringworm is a contagious disease and spread from an affected person to others. The transmission mainly occurs through sharing the usable items of infected person like a towel, combing brush, cloths etc. The favourable locations for transmission of infection are swimming pool or any crowded area. Children are more susceptible than elder. The infection is also transmitted from pets to human. In this transmission at a time, many patches are generated in different body parts.
There are various types of tinea fugus which affects different body parts according to their characteristics. Those are:
These causative infectious agents mainly live on the face and neck. Noticeable crusting and inflammation occurs at the site with itching sensation.
These tineas are attacked to older aged children or adolescence. They live on scalp skin and causes hair loss. In most of the cases they generate scaly skin with bald spot.
It gives the classic symptom of ringworm which include ring like patches on the surface of the body. The edge of the ring is swelled more and gives a distinct partition in a circular shape.
These funguses mainly grow in facial skin, but not in beard. They do not generate any ring shape, but causes scaly patches.
Tinea manus and Tinea pedis
Tinea manus mainly affected the palm and is situated in between the fingers and causes thickening of the skin. Tinea pedis is present in the foot and in between toes and blister like symptoms.
Before initiating the treatment, it is important to diagnose the reason of patches. Some misguidance may generate that red rashes may be a symptom of ringworm, but every red rash is not a ringworm infection. For successful treatment, it is necessary to diagnose the disease properly.
In ringworm, dermatologist first physically examines the affected area and then may also assess microscopically the collected skin scrap and sometimes recommend for skin culture test for appropriate diagnosis of the infection and causative organism.
Ringworm is successfully treated by applying or taking anti fungal creams, shampoos or tablets. The following measures are helpful to accelerate the treatment and prevention of ringworm:
- Affected skin should be thoroughly washed and dry. The place in between fingers and toes are prone to infection as these places are not dry easily, so take additive attention.
- Use clean undergarments and socks, as fungus can live in skin flacks.
- Use your own towel, comb, cap, cloths, does not share with others and also not use other’s usable items.
- Loose fit cotton cloths should be used in warm and moisture weather.