Ringworm is a skin disease that has nothing to do with worms or similar parasites, and is in fact caused by a group of fungi called Dermatophytes. The medical term for this infection is tinea corporis, and the term “ringworm” probably came from the characteristic red, elevated rings that appear on the skin as the main symptom.
People with weak immune systems are prone to this infection, or those who have another underlying medical condition. Ringworm is not dangerous and it can be cured with antifungal medications or natural remedies. Depending on the severity of the infection and on how much the fungus has spread, ringworm usually goes away in one to three weeks.
It is very important to realize that the treatment for ringworm, using either antifungal medications or natural remedies, should not be interrupted or stopped at the first signs of improvement. The treatment should continue for some time even after the ringworm is gone, in order to prevent it from recurring, which is always a possibility in fungal infections.
Antifungal medication for ringworm
One option for treating ringworm is to see a doctor who will recommend or prescribe appropriate antifungal medication, which is, in most cases, topical. There are many products designed for this purpose, and the majority of them are available over the counter.
Miconazole is the most popular antifungal topical ointment. It kills the fungus by inhibiting the production of ergosterol, a component that makes up the fungus cell membrane.
Clotrimazole is another over-the-counter antifungal cream, very effective against ringworm, although in some cases it can cause redness and irritation.
Terbinafine comes in the form of an ointment as well as an oral medication, just like ketoconazole, which is usually recommended for people who have a weak or compromised immune system.
Doctors usually recommend starting with topical creams and ointments, and capsules or tablets are used in the case ringworm shows no improvement.
Natural antifungal remedies for ringworm
There are many natural remedies that are proven to be very effective against the fungus which cases ringworm. Tea tree oil is one of the best. It has excellent antifungal properties and it should be applied repeatedly in the affected areas until the ringworm is cured.
Grapefruit seed extract also has antifungal properties and it works best if applied in undiluted form.
Vinegar can be used to treat mild or moderate cases of ringworm. Its acidity has the adverse effect on the fungus and inhibits its growth and multiplication.
Turmeric has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is recommended to use its juice, applying it directly to the areas affected by ringworm, several times a day until the infection is cured.