Ringworm (Tinea) is a very common skin infection that occurs as a result of fungi that live on the dead tissues within your skin, hair, and nails. Most commonly the fungus affects the feet or groin, known as athlete’s foot and jock itch, respectively.
Symptoms & Appearance
Initially, the beginning sign of ringworm is an itchy, red, scaly patch of skin or a developing bump. Over time, the bump turns into a circular ring-shaped patch, or even several rings. The inside of the patch is usually clear or scaly, while the outside is slightly raised and bumpy.
When ringworm occurs on your scalp, the same scaling will occur but oftenthe hair starts to fall out in patches in the affected area.
The Spread of Ringworm
Like other fungal infections, ringworm is highly contagious. The most common ways it spreads include:
- From another person – Through skin-to-skin contact.
- From your pets – Common in pets or farm animals.
- By touching objects – The same fungus that causes ringworm can thrive on different surfaces, clothes, towels, and in combs and brushes.
- From soil – An area of soil can be infected with the fungus that causes ringworm, and it is easily transferred to your skin.
Treatment is highly dependent on its location and the severity of the infection. We may recommend OTC medications including antifungal creams or powders to be used over the course of a month or longer. For more severe ringworm infections or those along any hair-bearing area, prescription antifungals are necessary.
It is also important to make certain lifestyle changes including:
- Keeping skin dry and clean.
- Avoiding public showers and locker rooms, without proper footwear and clothing.
- Avoid sharing clothing, linens and towels with others (as they might have certain skin infections).
- Practice overall good hygiene habits – using soap, washing properly, daily showers, and doing proper laundry.
For more information on skin infections or to schedule an appointment, be sure to contact Nova Dermatology today.