So, the doctor has told you that the round raised rash on your arm is ringworm. Gross. Wiggling little worms crawling around under the skin, right? Well, actually no. Ringworm isn’t caused by worms at all but by a fungus. Yes, a fungus, just like mushrooms. Um, more like the fungus that causes athlete’s foot or jock itch, both of which are forms of ringworm.
To be politically correct, or scientifically correct, the clinical name for ringworm is dermatophytosis. It is a fungal infection that feeds on keratin, a protein in skin, hair and nails. Animals can also be infected, particularly pet cats and dogs but also rabbits, horses, sheep, cattle and pigs. It likes to live in warm, damp places like gym locker rooms, swimming pool areas and in the folds of skin in the groin area, between the toes and other places. You know, where skin touches itself.
To get over dermatophytosis, you have to kill the fungus. And fungus can be like Michael Meyers in Halloween, in all 37 sequels, hard to kill. Nail fungus can take a year or more to cure. The standard treatment is a topical and/or systemic fungicide.
There’s a reason your mother told you not to walk barefoot in the gym locker room. Athlete’s foot – this version of ring worm causes flaking and itching on the feet. However, the particular fungus that causes athlete’s foot can appear elsewhere on the body including the groin. Yes, athlete’s foot in your groin. Bet you’ll listen to your mother now.
Avoid walking around barefoot in showers and locker rooms and you won’t have to spend the next two months applying appointment. Practice good personal hygiene; don’t share towels; dry feet completely. As with nail ringworm, the treatment is a topical fungicide cream and/or oral medication. Talcum powder can be effective in helping to keep feet dry.
Ringworm of the beard sounds like the name of a punk band but it’s actually the form of dermatophytosis that infects hair follicles of the beard. This kind of ringworm rarely affects women. It used to be called ‘barber’s itch’ and is most common among agricultural workers. This kind of ringworm is often transmitted from animal to human, rather than being passed from one person to another.
Ringworm of the hair infects the hair shaft and leads to hair loss, itching, swelling and scaliness. This form of dermatophytosis can be hard to diagnose because it appears very much like psoriasis and dandruff. It appears most often among African American boys and primarily affects children under 16.
To stay ringworm free, practice good personal hygiene especially in shared bathing and grooming areas. Secondary infections are not uncommon. The fungi that cause ringworm are hardy and getting rid of any form is a lengthy process.
If you have already failed to heed this warnings then here are a few different treatments to get rid of ringworm.
Lamisil is a common antifungal cream that can be used to Kill Ringworm
Monistat-Derm is another common antifungal topical lotion used to cure ringworm.
Some people say that Bleach will kill ringworm. I am sure that this is true, but don’t know if I would want to try it. Stick with the more expensive Anti-fungal creams!