Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) is generally characterized by the occurrence of multiple reddish, inflamed rings with sizes ranging from one to a few centimeters in diameter. In the incipient stage of the disease, the lesions caused by ringworm of the body appear like spots or dots, later on taking a circular shape. This is due to the fact that the middle regions of the discoid patches begin to heal, while the extremities of the patches continue to expand, covering up larger areas of skin. The lesions characteristic to ringworm of the body may either have a dry or moist texture. Dry lesions are commonly associated with inflammation and scaling of the skin, while moist lesions also involve the occurrence of small blisters along the extremities of the rings and the formation of crust. Both types of lesions may become itchy and tender, although the intensity of these symptoms is usually mild or moderate.
Tinea corporis or ringworm of the body refers to fungal infections of the body skin or face. Although other forms of ringworm mostly occur in children, tinea corporis can be seen in people belonging to all categories of age. Ringworm of the scalp also affects both genders equally.
Despite the popular name of “ringworm”, tinea corporis is not caused by a worm. The disease is known as ringworm for the fact that it produces skin lesions that take the shape of rings, sometimes disposed in a concentric pattern. Ringworm of the body occurs due to infection with dermatophytes, a species of infectious fungal organisms that feed with dead keratin, the superficial layer of the epidermis. While certain groups of dermatophytes can infest various species of animals, as well as humans (infested furry animals such as cats and dogs commonly transmit the disease to humans), other groups of dermatophytes exclusively infest human hosts. The most common types of fungal organisms responsible for causing ringworm of the body are: trichophyton rubrum, microsporum canis and trichophyton mentagrophytes.
The fungal elements responsible for causing ringworm of the body are very contagious, being easily transmissible from infested animals to humans or from an infested individual to other humans. Proper hygiene can’t always prevent the spreading of the infection, but it can sometimes slow down the progression of the disease. Thus, it is advisable to always maintain a good level of personal hygiene in order to minimize the chances of contracting ringworm of the body and other types of tinea. In order to prevent the transmission of the fungal infection to others, the persons who have been diagnosed with ringworm of the body should avoid entering in contact with other people until the disease is completely cured.
The treatment of tinea corporis generally consists of antifungal medications for external use. With the appropriate treatment, ringworm of the body can be cured within several weeks. Doctor-prescribed antifungal medications should be able to stop the proliferation of the fungi within the first few days of treatment, and completely clear up the infection within 2 or 3 weeks. More persistent manifestations of the disease may sometimes require oral treatment in addition to topical gels, creams and lotions for external use. However, tinea corporis is usually very responsive to regular preparations for local use, rarely requiring stronger medications.