Similarly, when the ringworm affects the feet of a person, they are known as the tinea pedis or sometimes also called the athlete’s foot.
Ringworm basically doesn’t mean that you actually have the worms but it is named as ringworm because in this fungal infection, a rash is formed in the shape of a circle or a ring and then started spreading. In the ring worm, the ring of red color is formed on the skin while the inside of this ring remains of neutral skin color. The red outer boundary of the ring looks like a worm in circle on the skin and due to this reason, this name has been given to it.
How ringworm is caused?Although there are different types of the fungi that may attack our skin and cause different skin diseases but the ringworm is caused by the dermatophyte types of the skin that grow on the skin and irritates it through forming red colored rings followed by itching. These fungi basically attack on the dead tissue cells first and make them their inhabitant and start living on these dead tissue cells of the skin, or nails or the scalp.
A large number of the dermatophytes mostly grow in the moist, wet or damp areas of the skin such as in the groin areas of the body or between the fingers or thumb. They may also attack your feet if you keep your feet on the dirty and damp floor most of the time and then your feet become prone to their attack. Furthermore, if you are one of those people who sweat more, then the chances of getting ringworm on your skin also increases.
Symptoms of RingwormIf your skin is attacked by the fungus which causes ringworm, the first symptom that you will notice will be the flat and scaly skin area, rather than the smooth and normal skin.
Secondly, you will also notice some redness and itching in most of the cases on to the skin where the fungi has attacked. Furthermore, the edges of the infected part of the skin may get slightly raised than the other parts of the skin and sometimes, you see the bumpy skin on the infected area.
With time, the infected skin will develop the thin but circular shaped red-colored boundaries which will ensure that you have got the ringworm infection. Along with all these symptoms, you may also notice the little red dots on the infected area. Whenever you use soap, shampoo, surf or detergents, you skin will show more redness and you will feel the pain or itchiness when doing laundry or using detergents, taking bath, and washing the pots etc.
Whenever you realize that your skin is going through some issues or problems, you should never ignore it and must seek the clinical help through going to the doctor for the treatment.
DiagnosisWhen you will go to the doctor, the doctor will examine the infected area of the skin and ask you questions like when did it appeared on the skin? Does it hurt? Do you feel itchiness over it? Etc. By asking these questions and looking into the skin, the doctor will get to know about the skin infection type, i.e. whether it is ringworm or anything else.
If the doctor will be confused about what exactly is the infection, he may take the flakes sample from your skin and examine it under the microscope or in the laboratory and then confirm the type of infection. In this way, the ringworm is diagnosed easily.
TreatmentThere are three ways of treatment for the ringworms. First of all, you will be recommended over-the-counter treatments for treating the ringworm and if they work effectively on your skin, then the ringworm will be cured successfully. If over-the-counter treatment fail to provide you the expected results or if they totally fail to cure the ringworm, then the doctor will prescribe you some antifungal creams or antifungal lotions to cure the ringworm.
If your infection is so widely spread that it still failed to be cured through antifungal creams or lotions, then the doctor will recommend eating some antifungal pills along with applying some antifungal creams and lotions.
There are two types of most commonly used antifungal tablets that are given to treat the ringworm. One of these is known as terbinafine while the second one is known as the griseofulvin. Your doctor or general physician will decide which type of the tablets you should eat based on the type of ringworm you got and based on the severity of the infection of the ringworm.
No matter whichever they recommend you to eat, you must be aware of some of its side-effects which may include indigestion, a feeling of nausea, diarrhea, and may be rashes in some case. However, it doesn’t mean that every person eating these medications will suffer through these further illness or side-effects but it is only in case of some people who have weak immune system and unable to deal with the effects of other medications in their body. However, these side effects are just minors ones and never goes to severe conditions but these medications are very effective in treating the ringworm.
Along with these, there are some useful tips and pieces of advice to treat the ringworm at home by following these simple steps.
First of all, it just be kept in mind that the germs or fungus grow into the dirty and damp or wet skin areas. Therefore, it is critically important to keep your skin dry and clean through the day. Keeping your skin dry doesn’t mean that you should not use the water and avoid washing the hands, but the right way is to wash your hands approximately four to five times a day.
However, make sure that you always wash your hands with a good hand washer or with a good soap and after every wash, take a clean towel and properly dry your hands so that no moisture left into the hands. In this way, the fungus will find no dampness to grow and their further growth would be controlled.
However, it should also keep in mind that excessive dryness also makes the skin worst and leads to cracks on the skin where the fungi may grow. The best way to handle this issue is to apply the antifungal creams or lotions, whatever your doctor had recommended to you, approximately 2 times a day. Most of the times, the doctors recommend applying the antifungal creams or lotions once in the morning and once in the evening or night before going to sleep so that it may stay on your skin throughout the night and keep of fighting with the fungus while resulting in controlling the infection.
In some other cases, the doctors also recommend to apply a very thin layer of Vaseline or petroleum jelly on to your skin in order to avoid the flaky skin where most of the outbreaks happen. Some doctors recommend applying the hydrogel on the skin so that the flaky skin can be treated properly because the germs or the fungi usually grow into the flakes of the skin. When their will be no flakes of the skin, obviously there will be less growth of the fungi or all other types of the germs.
Precautions and CareIf you have got the ringworm on the skin, the extra precaution should be taken to keep your skin clean so that the fungi should not grow further. For example, if you have got the ringworm infection in to the groin areas such as under-legs or vaginal area, you are highly recommended to change your underwear very frequently, such as two to three times a day. This is because the germs or fungi tend to grow rapidly into the wet and dirty under garments causing severity to the rashes, skin diseases or even ringworm.
Similarly, if you are suffering through the ringworm on your feet, then it is necessary to keep changing your socks frequently because the fungi grow rapidly into the dirty or moist socks which ultimately make the ringworm worst. Not only this, but the dead skin cells may embed from our feet, especially from heels, into the socks and the fungi tend to grow on to the dead skin cells or on to the flakes of the skin. If the dead skin cells embed into the socks, the fungi start growing there which infect the other areas of the skin too. Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep your socks clean and change them more often than you used to do before you got the ringworm.