Is there anything in this world that could possibly make your skin crawl more than finding out that an existing skin rash may have been caused by a worm?
For years, most people have pointed an accusing finger at an innocent worm being the evil culprit responsible for the circular-shaped skin infection when in fact it has nothing to do with a worm, but is actually caused by a fungus! Now, doesn’t that make you feel better?
Tinea, the fungus that causes ringworm, live on the outermost layers of the skin and are notorious for causing such skin conditions as the ever-popular jock itch. Tinea thrive in warm, moist locations such as the locker room and swimming pool. Tinea is highly contagious and can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. If you find yourself in either of these venues, protect yourself by refraining from sharing such personal effects as towels, jock straps, and items of clothing that lay closest to the skin.
What are the Symptoms of Ringworm?
The most common symptom associated with ringworm is an itchy rash that may or may not form the shape of a circle. It is important to have such a rash looked at by your doctor or dermatologist, as the rash may simply present itself as a red, itchy patch. Many rashes present as such therefore in terms of treatment options it is important to know what exactly it is that you are dealing with. Jock itch often presents as a reddish-brown rash and extends outward from where the groin and thigh meet. Jock itch occurs less frequently in women because we know better than to share our undergarments! Ringworm does not ordinarily leave behind scars, and the rash remains in the upper layers of skin, however, ringworm can become a more serious type of infection for those people with HIV or AIDS who have a compromised immune system.
Treatment for Ringworm
Anti-fungal creams such as clotrimazole, miconazole and terbinafine are effective in treating most ringworm infections and are available without a prescription. These topical solutions are also used to treat Athlete’s foot. Treating this type of infection with an anti-fungal cream should not exceed more than 14 days. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional if your skin rash does not respond to an over-the-counter topical medication such as the ones mentioned above, as you may need a stronger medication. If left untreated, ringworm can form blisters and become infected, warranting the need for an antibiotic. Ringworm is a very treatable condition; in fact, some people do not even know they have had it!
How to Prevent Ringworm
- Do not share clothes, shoes or towels with anyone outside of your own family
- Men: Throw away the tightey-whiteys and stock up on boxers
- Women: Unless it is 30 degrees outside, can the pantyhose
- Make sure the gym equipment you use is clean
- Wear flip-flops or shower shoes in locker rooms
- If you have a household pet, check for any bald spots on its fur as this may be a sign of a fungal infection
- If you have Athlete’s foot, be sure to put on your socks before putting on your underwear as you may spread the fungus from your feet to the groin.