Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, also known as dermatophytosis, affecting different areas of the body. It is generally classified depending on the area of the body affected and is caused by related yet different species of fungi. The name comes from the type of rash it produces which is typically scaly, itchy with an elevated ring-like border.
It generally occurs in the moist areas of skin and can come from the spores in the soil or from close contact with someone with the condition. It tends to be very contagious and spreads easily by contaminated objects, contact with other people, between different parts of one’s own body, or infected pets or farm animals.
It starts as a red, scaly patch or bumps. It tends to be very itchy and uncomfortable, but it’s not painful or dangerous. Hair loss may occur in the area affected, especially when it affects the scalp. Ringworm should be considered if you notice:
i) Ring-like patches that have a red, raised border and normal skin in the center
ii) Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches
iii) Patches with sharply defined edges
iv) Hair loss with a scaly rash
v) Cracked skin
vi) Red patches with uneven or irregular borders
Types of Tinea:
Based on the area of the body affected, ringworm is classified as
- Tinea Barbae (Face & Neck): Tinea Barbae is also known as barber’s itch. This ringworm may affect the hair in the bearded area and neck. It causes itching without any clearly visible rash. The infected area may become swollen.
- Tinea Capitis (Scalp): Tinea Capitis is also known as ringworm of the scalp and appears as small patches that are itchy and scaly
- Tinea Corporis (Body skin): Tinea Corporis mainly affects body skin surface, especially the arms and legs.
- Tinea Cruris (Groin area): It is also known as Jock Itch. Tinea cruris affects the groin area of the human body and causes a red rash and can be very itchy.
- Tinea Faceii (Face): It mainly affects the face except in the area of bread. It causes rash on your face and can be itchy
- Tinea Manuum (Hands): It mainly affects the hands and nails can make the skin of the affected area scaly and dry. Itching and burning sensations are also experienced.
- Tinea Pedis (Feet): This ringworm infection also known as Athlete’s foot affects the moist parts between the toes and causes itching, redness, stinging and rash.
- Tinea Unguium (Fingernails): Fungal infection affecting the fingernails and toenails.
Good hygiene is important to prevent superficial fungal infections. Some general measures that help:
- Keeping your skin and feet clean and dry.
- Shampooing regularly, especially after haircuts.
- Not sharing clothing, towels, hairbrushes, combs, and other personal care items.
- Thorough cleaning and drying of towels and clothing after use.
- Wearing sandals or shoes at gyms and pools.
- Avoiding close contact with pets with bald spots.
- Keep your skin clean and dry. Wash the affected area with soap and water, and dry thoroughly.
- Apply an antifungal powder, lotion, or cream-based on location and moistness.
- They contain nystatin, miconazole, clotrimazole, terbinafine or some similar ingredient.
- Avoid clothing that irritates the infected area.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes, preferably made of cotton or other natural materials
- If you have a severe case of ringworm, your doctor may prescribe oral pills or injection to treat the fungus.