Ringworm is a fungal infection that is common in school going children. The fungal infection forms a circular shape on the skin similar to the way worms appear when they touch from end to end hence the name ringworm.
There are a lot of bacteria and fungi that live on your skin and the fungi that cause ringworm are quite harmful. It manifests itself as a red rash that may itch depending on the severity of the condition.
Ringworm doesn’t just affect children, adults who do not uphold good hygiene practices can also get it.
Athletes are prime candidates for the infection as they usually spend time together and most of them share personal effects like towels and clothes. The infection is, therefore, easily transferred from one athlete to the others and it’s not strange to find several members of a team with the infection.
A parent can also get it from her baby as they are always in close contact. A child with a ringworm infection can pass it on to the parent when breastfeeding.
The obvious symptom of ringworm is a circular red rash. It starts off as a flat scaly patch on the skin or scalp before the patch develops raised borders that expand outwards to form a circular ring. The ring is somehow irregular and it resembles the outline of a worm.
The ring could be clear without any bumps or it could be scaly and marked with scattered red bumps that itch. Some people develop several of these rings and sometimes the rings could overlap. Check out this Ringworm treatments blog to find out other symptoms of this infection.
When to Seek Treatment
You should seek medical treatment when the rashes on the skin or scalp fail to clear in two weeks. The treatment of ringworm could involve the application of an anti-fungal cream for a period of time. If the rash does not clear with the use of anti-fungal cream, the physician may prescribe medication that should be taken orally.
How It is Spread
Ringworm is quite contagious and it is caused by parasites that live on the outer layer of the skin. People get the infection in the following ways;
- Human to Human – Ringworm is spread when an infected person comes into direct skin to skin contact with another person.
- Animal to Human – You can also get infected with ringworm when you come into contact with an animal that has ringworm. It can be spread when you pet cats and dogs. Ringworm is also common in cows.
- Object to Human – You can get ringworm when you touch or come into contact with an object or a surface that has been touch by a person or animal infected with ringworm. This includes objects such as clothing, bedding, towels, brushes, and combs.
- Soil to Human – There are also cases where people have become infected with ringworm after coming into contact with infected soil. Animals with ringworm pass it to the soil and you will get infected when you spend time in such an area.
How to Prevent It
It is difficult to prevent ringworm since the fungus that causes it is very common and it spreads quickly. You can, however, reduce your chances of getting infected by taking the following steps;
- Keep clean – Ensure that you are clean at all times.
- Do not share personal items like clothes and caps – This will help you avoid picking up the infection from others.
- Avoid infected animals.
- Don’t wear thick clothing when it is hot so as to avoid excessive sweating.
- Wash your clothes and personal items properly.
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