Things No One Told You About Ringworm

Ringworm, likewise known as dermatophytosis, is a highly contagious fungal infection of the skin (tinea corporis) and scalp (tinea capitis). Ringworm is a common disorder that affects 20% of the general world population. Domestic animals such as dogs and cats can be infected and transmit the infection to humans as well. Symptoms of ringworm begin 4 – 14 days after exposure to a dermatophyte fungus.

How do you catch ringworm? 

It is spread by:

  • Skin to skin contact
  • Touching an infected animal (dogs and cats)
  • Touching a contaminated object or surface.

Who is at risk for ringworm?

The factors that predispose you to been infected are:

  • Contact sport such as wrestling or rugby
  • The use of public showers
  • Sharing bed linings with someone infected
  • Sharing clothing items with others
  • Using other people’s towel
  • Excessive sweating
  • Living in a hot climate
  • Contact with animals
  • Weakened immunity
  • Living in a crowded environment
  • Wearing tight, restrictive clothing that prevents air from entering various parts of the body.

Ringworm of the Body (Tinea Corporis)

Tinea corporis is a superficial fungal infection of the skin. It usually affects the arms and legs, but it can affect other parts of the body. 

Signs and symptoms of times corporis include:

  1. Red, raised ring-shaped rash with clearing in the center.
  2. Itching of affected areas of skin
  3. The surface of the rash is rough when touched
  4. Dry, flaky skin around rash
  5. Presence of hair loss or scanty looking hair in the affected skin region

Diagnosis of Tinea Corporis:

Diagnosis is confirmed with the KOH test and culture of skin scrapings from affected areas. KOH test is done by placing skin scrapings gotten from affected regions on a slide and immersing it in hydroxide solution to view fungal properties.

What is the best treatment for tinea corporis?

Topical antifungal sprays or creams (Tolnaftate, clotrimazole, and ketoconazole): to be applied twice a day for three weeks and oral antifungal medications

Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis)

Tinea capitis is likewise known as ringworm of the hair and ringworm of the scalp. Tinea capitis is a cutaneous fungal infection of the scalp. The dermatophyte responsible is trichophyton and Microsporum. 

What are the symptoms of tinea capitis?

They invade the hair shaft and cause several manifestations such as:

  • Itchy scalp
  • Single or multiple patches of hair loss (bald patches)
  • Expanded red raised rash in the shape of a ring
  • Presence of black dot pattern of hair with broken-off hairs
  • Scaling and pustules formation on the scalp
  • Dandruff

Tinea capitis is more commonly seen in pre-pubertal children and less common in adults. Boys are usually more affected.

Diagnosis of Tinea Capitis 

Diagnosis is confirmed with a microbial culture of epilated hairs, microscopic examination, and wood lamp examination.

How do you treat tinea capitis?

Oral antifungalGriseofulvin is the medication of choice for tinea of the scalp. The duration of treatment is 4 – 6 weeks. Other antifungal medications that can be used are Terbinafine, Itraconazole, and fluconazole. Also, Nizoral shampoo (ketoconazole): use every 3 or 4 days for a minimum of 2 weeks. Use an antifungal shampoo.

Final word

Don’t overlook ringworm. Talk to your doctor or see a dermatologist if your ringworm infection gets worse or doesn’t go away after using non-prescription antifungal medication.