Ring worm ; a worm or something else!!?
Ringworm is an infection of the skin or scalp(of course the scalp is a thicker version of the skin with larger and thicker pores)It is caused by a fungus, usually characterized by elevated, rapidly growing, round ring-like sore on the skin. In most cases the centre of the ring is usually clear and smooth. Ringworm is caused by ”dermatophytes (derma- means skin and -phyte means plant), they are microscopic and live and breed on the dead outer skin layer”. Contrary to the name there is no actual worm involved. This fungus remains outside the body at all times
Ringworm is no respecter of person, it can affect anyone at any time.
The probability and possibility of developing ringworm is considerably higher if you:
-Live in a warm geographical area with highly humidified climate
Have a direct contact with an infected person or pet who is actively carrying the infection
-Have a compromised or failing immune system with is usually secondary to a medical problem or comorbidity such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancers of all sort s and types such as leukemia (blood cancer)
Types of ring worm
Tinea corporis- Ring worm of the body
Tinea cruris- Ring worm of the groin, typically extends to the thigh
Tinea faciei- Ringworm resulting from fungal infection of the face
Tinea Manus – Ring worm of the palm and areas between the fingers
Tinea pedis – Ring worm of the foot
Tinea Unguium-Ringworm of the fingernails and toe nails
Let’s look at the Causes and Risk Factors to Ringworm?
Ringworm is a well-known dermatophytes among humans, usually transmitted by direct contact with ringworm infected sores. It can also be contracted from soil or through exposure to infected animals (in most cases an household pet).
More specifically, what are the Risk factors for developing ringworm on the body?
Exposure through direct contact with an infected animal such as a pet, or soil; Now this sound slike one of those reasons why you should always keep good hygiene for yourself and your pet , you might have never heard this, but if you want to live long, respect your body and always keep good hygiene.
Keeping a good hygiene shows how much of a respect you actually have for your body and your health, this translates to what is likely to infect or not infect you.
Athletic activities such as high contact sports such as wrestling
Sweating especially if it from tight clothing: sweating profusely and not showering especially from tight clothing will definitely promote the infection, it is a lover of warm and humid environment
Having a compromised immune system (such as from HIV/AIDS, cancer, chemotherapy, diabetes, or certain medications)
Using public showers,lavatories and comfort stations of extremely poor hygiene (it might interest you know that ringworm can affect your groin region so watch wherever you poo and wee)
Sharing contaminated and infected bedding, towels, or clothing
Or having close contact with an infected person
Is Ringworm Contagious?
If you have been following well, ringworm is clearly contagious (from the above statements that shouldn’t even be a question)
For the sake of clarity;
Ringworm is not just contagious, it can be highly contagious and can be spread from person to person, as well as body wears used by an affected person, or from household pets. To keep ringworm from spreading:
-Be careful of where you touch or place your hands generally especially in an unfamiliar environment
-Maintain proper hygiene by washing the hands, don’t just wash, pay proper attention to how you wash and tub regularly, make it a priority to do the laundry of an infected family member or friend separately; and
-If you have ringworm, you might have to stop contact sports like wrestling especially for the ensuing 48 hour if you have started treatment to actually avoid spreading the infection to others, keep in mind that stopping the spread of an infection starts with you.
If you suspect that your pet is infected with ringworm; the following are the required of you:
-First thing first, take them for a checkup to a veterinarian, diagnosis need to be confirmed before treatment can take place
-Properly vacuum and disinfect areas and surfaces where the pet spends time; even beddings
-You might be really fond of your pet and all, but, wash your hands after handling them especially when they are infected. Your pet won’t treat you if you come down with an infection, they just can’t, but you can help them get treated, so stay uninfected so you can treat your pet when they do.
Diagnosis for ringworm
Diagnosis is usually obvious just by looking at the location and appearance, but to be more specific a microscopic examination and a culture of the infected skin can be done for proper diagnosis and specificity. The infection needs to be confirmed to be ring worm as inappropriate treatment could worsen the infection.
Diagnosis is can be done using a microscopic magnifier by preparation of infected skin using potash (KOH) and viewing under a microscope to substantiate the presence of a fungus.
Treatment for Ringworm
Topical medication- Ringworm is caused by a fungus, therefore, successful treatment will require an antifungals medication, such medication can be in form of a cream, ointment or lotion applied to the affected body part examples are topical medication that contains clotrimazole (such as desenex cream and Cruex cream) miconazole (Monistat- derm cream ) these are usually applied for two weeks before full disinfection take place.
Systemic treatment- Unfortunately some ring worm do not respond to external medications , examoles are nail fungus and scalp fungus . Oral medication like Griseofulvin (fulvicin, grifulvin, and Gris-PEG) are the best go to option in this case.
Others which have proven to a large extent to be safer are more largely effective are terbinafine, itracanazole and diflucan,
Caution!!! Make sure they are prescribed by your doctor after proper diagnosis and close monitoring have been done. Oral medications are usually taken for a three-month course.
Ringworm can easily be cured with appropriate treatment done early and consistently. it usually resolves in 2-3 weeks of treatment. If neglected it could lead to serious complications and a secondary bacterial infection, especially in immunosuppressed individuals. Neglected ringworm of the scalp can lead to baldness, so take care for yourself, maintain proper hygiene and remember;
Ringworm is not a ring, neither is it a worm, it is a fungus that has grown out of proportion and has started feeding on your skin giving a flaky, dry, circle-like elevated appearance. The good news it can be prevented and stopped from infecting everybody and anybody, but this good news is dependent on you
Sayonara, Thanks for reading✌️