Ringworm Symptoms & Treatments
Ringworm is a horrible skin infection caused by a certain type of fungus. It often affects the skin on your body, scalp, feet (aka athlete's foot) or groin area (aka jock itch). Most people that have ringworm experience it in more than one location on their body.
Ringworm is a very common skin disorder for both children and adults. Contrary to the name "ringworm", the skin condition is actually caused by a fungus, not a dreaded worm that everyone worries about.
Ringworm is caused by the microscopic bacteria and fungi that lives on your body. Not all bacteria and fungi is bad for you, but when conditions are right, certain types can multiply and grow on your skin, nails or scalp.
Conditions that often cause ringworm to proliferate are warm, moist areas. People that sweat a lot are often most at risk of contracting ringworm. You can also contract it from minor injuries to your nails, scalp and skin.
Is Ringworm Contagious?
Yes, ringworm is incredibly contagious! It is easily passed from person to person by direct skin contact or contact with contaminated items such as unwashed clothing, combs, luffas and shower or pool surfaces.
If you have pets in your house then you need to know that you can also get ringworm from your pets as they often carry the fungus. Especially cats as they are the most common carriers.
The most common symptoms of ringworm are itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze pus. The patches are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center, similar to hives. This may create the appearance of a ring, which is why they call it "ringworm".
If ringworm infects your beard or scalp, then you will often start having bald spots in that area.
If ringworm infects your nails, then you will often see them become think and discolored. They may even start crumbling apart, which often happens with toenail fungus!
9 out of 10 times, ringworm can be treated by yourself within 4 weeks without having to see a doctor. Be sure to keep your skin clean and dry and apply the over the counter anti fungal cream . Be sure to also wash your sheets and pajamas every day while infected.
If your ringworm outbreak continues for more than 4 weeks after starting your treatment, be sure seek advice from your primary care physician. You should also contact your doctor if you have any signs of a bacterial infection, which can result from scratching. The signs of a bacterial infection include swelling, warmth to the touch, sudden worsening in redness of the patches, discharge, fever, red streaking and pus. You should also contact your doctor if ringworm infects your beard or scalp.
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