Do not be fooled by its name. Ringworm is not a worm infection. Known by its scientific name, tinea or dermatophytosis, ringworm is a fungal infection that appears on the skin. Ringworm does not just affect humans. The infection can affect both humans and animals and appears in the form of red patches on the skin that spread to the rest of the body. You may notice patches on feet, scalp, arms or other areas. If it occurs on the feet, the condition is known as athlete’s foot. The red rash is cornered with a mildly raised border, just like in the form of a ring, which is why it is called ringworm.
Ringworm is contagious and you may get it on other body parts if you come into contact with it. If it is on your feet, you are more likely to come into contact with it using your hands. You are also susceptible to developing the condition from others. If you come into contact with toxic substances or contaminated surfaces, the condition is likely to appear on your skin.
How can I recognize it?
The symptoms depend on the body areas that are affected. Here’s what you may notice:
- Raised patches
- Raised patches are redder on the border
- Raised patches that form a ring
- Blisters begin to develop
- Red, itchy or scaly patches
If the symptoms become worse over time, you need to contact Southlake Dermatology for help. When you start noticing the symptoms, you should contact the doctor anyway, immediately. In case the infection starts happening on your fingernails or toenails, your nails – if not treated – would become thicker and lose their natural color. Ringworm could cause the nails to crack. If it happens on the head, you would be prone to having red marks, losing hair and developing bald patches.
Am I at risk?
Ringworm develops from three types of fungi, which stay for prolonged periods beneath earth. If you or an animal – say, your pet – come into contact with this soil directly, you or the animal could contact ringworm.
You are prone to getting the infection if you come into contact with human and animals who are suffering from the condition. Children are more likely to develop it because they frequently come into contact with shared items that may not be as clean.
Anyone could be susceptible to developing ringworm infection. The condition is common among people who own pets – cats and dogs. Cats and dogs stand a high chance of contracting ringworm and pass it on their owners when they come into contact with them. There are subtle signs that could help you detect if your pets are infected. They might develop scaly patches on their skin, white patches around the claws, bald or circular patches of skin and patches with weak or broken hair.
Human are likely to contract the disease if they have mild infections, injuries or are wet. Walking barefoot could also expose you to the disease or athlete’s foot. For this reason, public pools, public washroom and public showers are not exactly clean. If you keep your laundry unwashed for a long time or wear used, unwashed clothing again, you would be at a higher chance of contracting ringworm.
How can it be diagnosed?
As soon as you notice the first signs of ringworm developing on your skin or pet’s skin, schedule an appointment with Southlake Dermatology immediately. Negligence could cause the infection to become bigger, more painful, redder, and spread to the rest of the body or even other people. The dermatologist would assess the affected area using black light. Black light is used because it makes fungi glow. Therefore, your dermatologist would examine your skin and detect all those areas that have been infected.
The dermatologist could use several tests to examine affected areas:
- If the dermatologist perform KOH exam, a piece of skin would be scraped off from the infected area. The piece of skin is then placed in potassium hydroxide, which kills normal cells, leaving fungal cells for further examination under microscope.
- Skin biopsy could be performed when your doctor extracts a sample of your skin and removes the blister, which are then forwarded to the laboratory for comprehensive examination.
How is it treated?
It is best to contact Southlake Dermatology for your skin condition as they would perform detailed examination of your skin and provide you with the right medication or suitable cure. Your dermatologist would also ask questions and might guide you to make some lifestyle changes to avoid contracting the disease in the future.
Southlake Dermatology would provide you with medication that is appropriate for your skin and depending on the seriousness of ringworm infection. If it is not that severe, Southlake Dermatology may prescribe you with ointments or creams. If you develop ringworm infection on the nails, you might be required to take medicines orally. If you take the medication regularly and follow the instructions that Southlake Dermatology provided you with, the infection can be gone within days or four weeks. If your body is still not responding well to the medication, contact Compassion Dermatology in Southlake, TX. The Southlake Dermatologist may provide you with other pills to clear the infection.
What should you do when you have it?
Southlake Dermatologist would recommend that you avoid going near risk factors and follow these instructions:
- Always keep your bed clean. Dust you bed every day before sleeping and after waking up to clear dust or termites. Change the bed sheets regularly.
- Always wash your clothes after wearing them. When you spend long hours wearing them, all the germs from your body accumulate on your clothes.
- Avoid scratching the affected area as it could cause the infection to become worse. Repeated scratching could cause you to develop strep infection. Southlake Dermatology would provide you with antibiotics to cure the condition.
- When you are wearing clothes that come into contact with the affected area, cover properly with bandage.