CONTACT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER PREVENTION To prevent ringworm: If you have any signs of a bacterial infec- tion, which can result from scratching, you should call or go to your healthcare provider. These signs include: Swelling Warmth to the touch Sudden worsening in redness of the patches Red streaking Pus Discharge Fever ( above 100.44°F / 38°C.) If your skin does not improve after 4 weeks of self-care, additional medical care should be sought. Don't share clothing, sports gear, towels, or sheets. RINGWORM Wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms and public bathing areas. Shower and shampoo well after any sport that includes skin-to-skin contact. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Change your socks and underwear at least once a day. Keep your skin clean and dry. Always dry yourself completely after showers or baths. If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your underwear so that fungi do not spread from your feet to your groin. Take your pet to the vet if it has patches of missing hair, which could be a sign of a fungal infection. Ringworm can come back. To prevent this, use talcum or other drying powder on the affected area every day. If you or someone in your family has symptoms, it is important to treat ringworm right away to keep other family members from getting it. When ringworm infects your scalp or beard, you should call your doctor. Anti- fungal medications are usually necessary when your hair is infected. From Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Revised August 2011
RINGWORM Ringworm is a common skin disorder. Although its name suggests otherwise, it is caused by a fungus, not a worm. Ringworm can affect skin on your body and is known as tinea corporis, your scalp-tinea capitis, groin area -tinea cruiris, which is also called jock itch, or your feet -tinea pedis, which is probably the most common and is called athlete’s foot. Often there are several patches of ringworm on your body at the same time. Your doctor will diagnose ringworm primarily based on the appearance of the skin. SYMPTOMS If you have a ring-shaped rash, you probably have ringworm. The usual symptoms are: Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze. The patches often have sharply- defined edges. They are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center. This may create the appearance of a ring. Your skin may appear unusually dark or light. When your scalp or beard is infected, you will have bald patches. If nails are infected, they become discolored, thick, and even crumble. CAUSES Many bacteria and fungi live on your body. Some of these are useful to you and your body. Others can multiply rapidly and form infections. Ringworm occurs when a particu- lar type of fungus grows and multiplies anywhere on your skin, scalp, or nails. The fungi that causes ringworm thrive in warm, moist areas. It is more likely when you have frequent wetness, such as from sweating, and minor injuries to your skin, scalp or nails. Ringworm is contagious. It can be passed from one person to the next by direct skin-to- skin contact or by contact with contaminated items such as combs, unwashed clothing, and shower or pool surfaces. You can also catch ringworm from pets that carry the fun- gus. Cats are common carriers. Jock itch is a form of ringworm that causes an itchy rash on the skin of your groin area. It is much more common in men than in women. Most people get it by accidentally spreading the fungus that causes athlete's foot to their own groin area. TREATMENT TREATMENT Ringworm usually responds well to self-care within 4 weeks without having to see a doc- tor. Keep your skin clean and dry Apply over-the-counter antifungal or dry- ing powders, lotions, or creams. Those that contain miconazole, Clotrimazole, terbinafine, or similar ingredients are of- ten effective. Wash sheets and nightclothes every day while infected. Most ringworm of the skin can be treated at home with creams you can buy without a prescription. Your rash may clear up soon after you start treatment, but it’s important to keep using the cream for as long as the label or your doctor says. This will keep the infec- tion from coming back. A severe or persistent infection may require treatment by a doctor. It will usually respond quickly to antifungal pills. Infected pets also should be treated.