A ringworm infection is also called Dermatophytosis. It is caused by a kind of fungus called Dermatophytes that live on Keratin found in the epidermis of skin, in hair, fingernails and toenails. It commonly causes round rashes with red and raised edges that have healthy-looking skin in the middle. If the ringworm gets on hair, it can live inside the shafts and cause the strands to break. If the infection gets on the nails, it will change color, thicken and crumble off the finger or toe. It can also cause bald spots.
It is easy to get this disease because it is highly contagious. You could come into contact with the ringworm spores through other people or objects that they touched. The fungus lives in warm and wet areas, but dies quickly in cold and dry ones.
There are certain locations that are more likely to be infectious. These likely areas are often wet, including communal showers, public restrooms and the beach. One place where fungi are likely to flourish is in gyms. This is because it is used by people in little or sweat-soaked clothing. The sweat often covers the equipment, which is used by multiple people, making the spread of fungi in humans likely. Wrestlers are also more prone to this disease than most, since they exercise on wet mats that are soaked with sweat.
To prevent getting a ringworm, you should wear flip-flops on the beach and when using public showers and bathrooms. If you use gym equipment, make sure they are dry first, and cover the surfaces with a towel. You should also check with the management if they use anti-fungal cleaning treatments regularly on their equipment. You should also refrain from borrowing clothes and shoes. If you frequent thrift stores, make sure you wash the items you buy with a bleach solution to kill any fungi.
If you do get a ringworm infection, keep in mind that about 20% of humans will have it at least once in their lives. In addition, the infection is relatively easy to cure. A simple over-the-counter topical cream needs to be used for two to four weeks to make sure the fungus is dead at the roots. An anti-fungal soap would also help.
While undergoing treatment, the infection should be covered so that the fungal spores don’t get on your clothes and bed sheets. It would also help prevent you from scratching at the infection, which can spread the ringworm to other parts of your body. After one week of treatment, your symptoms may be gone, but you’re probably still contagious. So keep covering the infection and continue treatment. If no visible change happens after a week of using over-the-counter treatments, a doctor should be consulted. In some severe cases, oral medication may be required.
You should also make sure to wash your clothes, beddings and hard surfaces with a bleach solution to kill any lingering ringworm spores. It would also help if you could figure out where you got the ringworm infection to prevent it from happening again.
In some cases, your pet could be the one causing the problem. This means you should get your pet tested immediately. If you suspect another person or animal also has the same fungal infection, segregate them and their belongings from the rest of the household immediately. Being vigilant with curing the ringworm and preventing it from spreading to other humans is the trick.
It is relatively easy to get a ringworm infection, and very easy to cure. The trick is to prevent it from spreading, and continuing treatment to kill the fungus at the roots.