Although the name might suggest otherwise, ringworm is askin infection, which is caused by fungi. It is a common treatable condition, but ifleft untreated, the infection may spread to other parts of the body. The condition is highly contagious but harmless, and istransmitted through the contact with the infected person, or even a pet. Ringworm causes the appearance of itchy ring-shaped marks onthe skin, and this fungal infection is most common in the summer, as people tend toperspire more, which makes their skin a suitable environment for the growth of various microorganisms.
As ringworm has similar symptoms to other skin conditions,it is essential to properly diagnose the infection in order to be able to treatit. The doctor will perform a physical examination of the skin, and he may need to run testsfor fungi and analysis of skin scrapings under the microscope, ifnecessary. Various topical anti-fungal creams, which are sold in pharmacies, are theeffective treatment for ringworm. The doctor will usually recommendclotrimazole-based cream or another fungicide. The rash is normally treated for2-4 weeks, until it completely vanishes. It may take from a few days to two weeks to see the first signs of improvement. Oral medication is prescribed in cases of scalp infectionsthat fail to respond to external treatment.
Although the condition itself is not serious, it can leadto some complications. The most common one is the spread of the infection to otherparts of the body. For example, ringworm affecting the toenails can spread tothe feet and even hands, as a result of touching the feet. This can happenduring scratching or bathing. From the hands, the infection can end up anywhereon the body. When it comes to the ringworm, another concern is that the infected peoplebecome more susceptible to bacteria and other organisms, so secondaryinfections are possible. Due to itching and irritation, the skin becomes weakerand less resistant, so the pathogens can easily penetrate it and causeinfections.
Contact dermatitis is another possible outcome of ringworm, and these two conditions share the same symptoms, and are transmitted in the same way –through direct contact with the infected skin. Contact dermatitis is a skinreaction to irritants and is marked by localized rash or itching. The use of medications for the treatment of ringworm maycause side effects in the form of reactions to certain chemicals found in thedrug.