Ringworm

Ringworm wrist

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of ringworm infection

Infections of fungal origin are very common in tropical and temperate regions which have ideal climatic conditions for the growth and spread of these pathogens. Fungal diseases are also prevalent in low and middle-income countries where hygiene and health conditions are poor. In all of these regions, nearly 100,000 varieties of the fungus are present. But only 200 of them cause fungal diseases (mycosis) in human beings and animals. One of the common fungal infections affecting people in the aforementioned parts of the world is “Ringworm”. Although ringworm is not a cause of mortality and morbidity, health organizations should spread awareness related to the disease in order to ensure an improvement in overall hygiene conditions of a country.

 

What is ringworm infection?

Ringworm close upRingworm is a fungal infection caused by the tinea species that affects both human beings and other animals.

This variety of fungus belongs to the dermatophytes family that survive on human (or other animals) skin and feed on the skin protein called “keratin”.

Ringworm is characterized by circular reddish patches (ring-shaped) with elevated ridges that peel off as scales at a later stage.

Ringworms are highly contagious and cause constant itching in the infected areas. They can affect different parts of the body such as the skin, scalp, groin, and feet. Studies by global health organizations show that ringworm is a very common occurrence in athletes.

 

What causes ringworm infections?

Ringworms are caused by different species of tinea such as tinea corporis (affects the skin of the body), tinea capitis (affects scalp), tinea cruris (affects groin region), tinea pedis (affects the skin of feet). Although the name suggests otherwise, there is no existence of any “worm” in ringworm infection.

These fungal pathogens mainly belong to the category of dermatophytes that live in the soil, damp and moist regions and in unclean spaces. Hence people living in such environmental conditions are more prone to ringworm infections. Also, the people accustomed to unhygienic lifestyles such as not cleaning sweats on a regular basis, repeating the same unclean clothes (especially tight and ill-ventilated clothing) or not taking proper baths can catch ringworm infections.

Since ringworm can affect animals equally, hence people having pets at home can acquire the disease from these animals. Past ringworm infections can pose a threat of recurrence of the disease. Lastly, constant unprotected exposure to people affected with ringworms can cause predispose a person to the disease.

 

Pathophysiology of ringworm infection

Ringworms reside on the human (or animal) skin and feed on the skin protein (keratin). They primarily intrude the skin surface as microscopic seeds (spores) and begin to grow and propagate to adjoining regions. The incubation period typically ranges from 4 to 10 days depending on the region of occurrence of ringworm. Gradually circular reddish patches with thickened and scaly ridges appear on the skin and aggravate under ideal environmental conditions.

 

Transmission mediums of ringworm infection

Ringworm wristRingworm infections are extremely contagious and can spread through different transmission routes. These are discussed below-

  • Human to human: Ringworms can invade the body via direct unprotected contact with the infected person (especially if he does not keep the infected areas covered) such as handshakes or sexual contact.
  • Animal to human: Few animals like dogs, cats, and cows are easily infected with ringworms and can spread the disease through direct contact with their owners ( via animal danders or fecal matters)
  • Object to human: Ringworms can spread via common items of use such as towels, bed-sheets, utensils, combs, cosmetics or common spaces such as swimming pools, dormitories, playgrounds.
  • Soil to human: Prolonged period of contact with moist and infected soil can cause ringworms.

 

Visible signs and symptoms of ringworm infection

It has been observed that ringworms normally manifest themselves after 10 to 14 days of exposure to the fungus. The following symptoms are usually seen –

  • Elevated, reddish patches with prominent thickened edges and normal skin in the middle (ring-shaped appearance)
  • Formation of skin lesions over large areas
  • Continuous itching in the affected regions
  • Formation of small to large blisters or reddish lumps (occasionally fluid filled)
  • The release of fluid from blisters normally or on itching
  • Reddish streaks around the blisters that radiate outwards
  • Formation of cracks or fissures around the affected skin (increases risks of future infections)
  • Irregular bald patches in the head when scalp infection occurs
  • Thickened, yellowish and brittle nails when toes and nails are affected
  • Spread of rings to adjoining regions or overlapped ring formation in the same region

 

Different types of ringworm infections

Till date, four main types of ringworms have been identified and each of them affects different parts of the body. These are as follows-

  • Tinea corporis: It is also called body ringworm and affects the skin of the body, mainly the stratum corneum. The infection is mainly spread through the infected scales (hyphae) or arthroconidia of the infected skin.
  • Tinea capitis: It affects the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes and is caused by fungal growth (Microsporum and Trichophyton) in the hair follicle.
  • Tinea cruris: It affects the groin region and is more common in men. It is caused by T. rubrum or E. flocossum. Infection is found on the inner thighs and scrotum.
  • Tinea unguium: It mainly affects the nails and leads to Onychomycosis conditions.

 

Diagnosis of ringworm diseases

The following diagnostic techniques are followed by dermatologists to analyze ringworms-

  • Wood’s lamp (an ultraviolet lamp) used to study the Microsporum (trichography)
  • Microscopic diagnosis of skin fragment or hair from a lesion
  • Skin biopsies (dermatopathology)
  • Culture ( growth of fungus in the laboratory)

Treatment and prevention

Ringworm scalpTreatment 

  • Over-the-counter medications such as antifungal ointments and creams can help treat the ringworm infection. Antifungal creams such as clotrimazole solution, miconazole and ketoconazole will be prescribed to treat the redness, itching, and peeling of the skin.
  • In case the infection is severe, the doctor will provide you with antifungal pills. Griseofulvin, terbinafine, and itraconazole are some of the antifungal pills that will be prescribed to help treat ringworm.

Prevention 

  • Maintain proper hygiene.
  • Keep your surrounding clean.
  • Avoid going near any animal that may look sick.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after you go to the washroom and before every meal.
  • Make sure that you have a shower after you come back home.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching any animal.
  • Wear protective clothing, to avoid getting a ringworm infection.
  • Make sure that your surroundings are clean.
Don'ts
  • Scratch the affected area, as it can increase the infection.
  • Shave the affected area, as it can spread the infection.
  • Share any personal care items.

 

 

 

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shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
The complete “what to eat” guide for gluten intolerance Does eating breads and pastas often makes you nauseous? Gluten intolerance is a common reason why you might…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
Low fat diets
A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
cardioliin antibody iga
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) – IgA test Cardiolipins are phospholipids that are constituents of the platelets and the cell membranes. The IgA test detects the…
antihepatitis core antigent
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) Total Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC ) is a blood examination and the only serological marker of infectious blood…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
shoudler exercises
Keep your shoulders pain-free with these shoulder exercises Shoulder exercises are important in order to prevent chronic back and neck pain. Learn more about how you…
BULIMIA NERVOSA vomiting
Can you get addicted to food? Learn everything about food addiction What is food addiction? How can people get addicted to eating? Is it an unhealthy eating habit or…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…

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