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Also called Dermatophytosis, ringworm is an infection on the surface of theskin. It's characterized by an itchy, red circular rash withhealthy-looking skin in the middle. The name “ringworm” is derived from theearly belief was that the infection was due to a worm, which it is not.Ringworm is caused by fungus. Nevertheless, the name ringworm has stuck to thisday. The fungi that cause this conditionfeed on keratin, the material found in the outer layer of skin, hair, and nails. In fact,skin fungi can only live on the dead layer of keratin protein on top of theskin. They rarely invade deeper into the body and cannot live on mucousmembranes.

There are various ways of getting ringworm. One can get it from other humanbeings (it can spread by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person), fromanimals (by petting an animal), from soil (but this occurs very rarely, and ithas to be a prolonged contact with very infected soil), and from objects (if aninfected person has recently touched an object, and then a healthy person hastouched it, they will most likely get ringworm).

Risk Factors and Prevention

There are various risk factors that might increase one’s chances of gettingringworm. For instance, if one lives in crowded, damp, or humid conditions; isin close contact with an infected person, sweats excessively, wears tightclothes, participates in contact sports, shares clothing with a person that hasa fungal infection, has a weakened immune system, etc, then they are in greatrisk of being infected. This is why, the best way of avoiding ringworm is having good personal hygiene,not sharing clothes, avoiding infected animals, etc.

Symptoms of Ringworm

The most common symptoms of this skin condition are: a circular rash on theskin that’s red and inflamed around the edge but the skin looks healthy in themiddle; a round, flat patch of itchy skin, or slightlyraised expanding rings of red, scaly skin on one’s face or chest. As soon as one’s noticed the symptoms they should consult a doctor. He willdetermine the best course of treatment.

Creams for Treating Ringworm

There are various ways of treating this condition. Most ringworminfections in humans can be cured successfully by over the counter ringwormtreatment. Most of these ringworm creams have active ingredients such asclotrimazole, tioconazole, econazole and miconazole.

The creams that have been proven to be quite effective are:

Miconazole. It has been proven that it prevents the fungal growth bypreventing the production of an essential part of fungal cell membranes,ergosterol. Clotrimazole. It also prevents the growth of the fungi. It is one of the mostcommon antifungal creams used for this skin condition.Ketoconazole. This is used not only for ringworm, but also for athlete’s footand jock itch.Clotrimazole with Betamethasone. A mix of corticosteroid and antifungalmedication that prevents the growth of the infection and helps alleviate theitching. Terbinafine. It kills the skin fungi and helps relieve the itching.

It is advisable that one consults a doctor before trying anyof these creams.

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