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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Leptospira-IgM Test A Leptospira-IgM test is a blood test which is carried out to detect anti-Leptospira IgM antibody. Leptospirosis is…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Fibromyalgia fatigue
HCG Diet: The dangers of using this diet to lose weight HCG is a natural hormone produced by both men and women that corresponds to fertility. But how is…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
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…
Period sanitary napkin-menstruaion-blood-colors
Period blood – what it says about your health Your period blood color and consistency indicate what is happening in your body. Is your blood bright red…
Sweeteners-good or bad?
Sweeteners – Are They Good or Bad for Our Health? Sweeteners can be artificial and natural. Learn about the different types of sweeteners and their health benefits and…
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…
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…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
edamame
Edamame: How healthy are these green baby beans? Edamame or "immature" soybeans are soft and easily digestable forms of soybeans that are great as an eveyday…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
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…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
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…
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…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test measures and monitors the levels of folic acid in the blood. This test is also…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
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Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
kshar sutra
Kshar sutra treatment for piles, fissures and fistula Read to know the benefits and side effects of kshar sutra to treat anal piles, fissures, and fistula…
Splenda
Splenda Splenda is an artificial sweetener derived from Stevia plant extracts. It is low in calories and a popular…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigious superfood you need to include in your diet today! Quinoa - what is so special about this native South American grain that has taken the world by…

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