Although the name “ringworm rash” might be associated with the worms, this common skin condition is caused by fungus that subsists on the keratin located on the outer layers of the skin, hairy scalp, finger and toenails.
This rash is distinguished by itchy, red and circular rash with skin in the middle that looks healthy. The rash thus has a typical ring-shape, and part of its name is driven from this characteristic. The other part of the name is driven from the belief from many centuries ago, when doctors actually believed that some type of worm caused it.
Causes of ringworm rash
Ringworm rash develops from microorganisms or mold-like fungus that lives on the outer layer of the skin. These bacteria grow especially in the moist and dark patches of the skin. Associated fungus infections are athlete’s feet, jock itch on genitals or ringworm scalp on the head. When fungal infection affects other parts of the body, it is known as the ringworm rash.
Ringworm rash is a contagious disease that might be spread in a couple of ways. Most commonly, this rash spreads through a direct human-to-human contact. Sometimes it may be transmitted in contact with infected animals: dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, goats, pigs and horses. It is not unusual to get infected by touching the contaminated surfaces, especially clothing, towels and other objects from the patient's environment. In rare cases, the infected soil may also cause spreading of the infection.
Certain people are at a higher risk of developing ringworm rash. The environmental circumstances play a significant role in spreading of the fungus. People who live in damp, humid or crowded places are especially endangered. These conditions are very suitable for fungus that flourishes in dark, humid places where there is little or no movement of air.
People that sweat excessively also have suitable skin environment for development of the disease. Another group of people with high risk of ringworm of the body is those that have close contact with infected person or animal, who participate in contact sports or share clothing, bedding or towels with infected person. People wearing tight clothing or having compromised immune system, or young children, may also be more prone to ringworm rashes.
Treatment of ringworm rash
A lot of over-the-counter medicines and home remedies are available for the ringworm treatment. However, if the condition gets serious and the rash covers the large area of the body, doctors may prescribe certain topical or oral medications.