What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin that causes a red circular rash. Ringworm can occur in several parts of the body, such as on the head, face, or groin. Because it looks like a ring or circular worm, that’s why it is also known as ringworm.
This disease can be transmitted through direct contact with infected patients or animals. In addition, indirect contact with objects contaminated with fungi can also transmit ringworm.
Causes of Ringworm
The cause of ringworm is a fungus that attacks the skin. There are 3 types of fungi that can cause ringworm, namely Trichophyton, Epidermophyton, and Microsporum. This infection can be transmitted through:
- Direct contact, with an infected person (or animal).
- Indirect contact, through objects or soil contaminated with fungi.
Transmission of ringworm is more common in children who often share objects that can be contaminated with fungi. In addition, there are several conditions that can increase a person infected ringworm, such as:
- Hot weather and humid, which supports the development of mold
- Sharing towels with people who have skin fungal infections.
- Sleeping in the same bed with a person infected ringworm.
- Doing sports that involve physical contact, such as wrestling.
- Have a weak immune system, for example people with AIDS.
- Often wears tight clothing.
- Have excess weight.
- Suffering from diabetes.
- Wear socks or shoes when your feet are dirty or damp.
How to get rid of ringworm without going to the doctor?
Ringworm treatment can be done by applying over-the-counter ringworm or fungal ointments, including ointments containing clotrimazole or miconazole. Apply ringworm ointment according to the instructions for use listed on the packaging.
In addition to applying antifungal medication, the following things need to be done to help get rid of ringworm:
- Do not wear clothes with materials that can irritate the ringworm area. If you must wear it, cover the ringworm area with a bandage.
- Wash clothes and sheets every day as long as ringworm has not healed and keep the surrounding environment clean.
- Clean and dry the skin regularly, especially the areas of skin affected by ringworm.
- Compress ringworm with a small towel dampened in cold water for 20 to 30 minutes. Do it 2-6 times a day.
- Avoid scratching the itchy area, as this can lead to a bacterial infection of the skin.
If within 2 weeks there is no improvement, immediately consult a dermatologist.
How Dermatologist Get Rid of Ringworm?
A dermatologist will remove ringworm based on the location of the ringworm and the size of the area. For mild cases of ringworm, they will give you a topical medication containing an antifungal that is stronger than over-the-counter medications. Here the sample of the drugs are ketoconazole, terbinafine, and naftifine.
If the ringworm infection occurs in a larger area, gets worse, or doesn’t go away, dermatologist may prescribe antifungal medication in tablet form, such as terbinafine, itraconazole, griseofulvin, or fluconazole.
Especially for ringworm of the nails, a dermatologist can give a special liquid containing ciclopirox to remove the fungus on the nails.
Complications of Ringworm
Ringworm rarely causes serious problems and usually goes away within 2-4 weeks after treatment. Complications that can arise are precisely the result of the patient’s own behavior.
A bacterial infection can accompany ringworm if the area of skin affected by ringworm is constantly scratched. The doctor will give additional drugs in the form of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.
Beside the bacterial infection, the spread of ringworm from one part of the body to another can also occur if after scratching the area affected by ringworm, the sufferer touches other parts of the body without washing their hands first.
So, make sure don’t scratch the ringworm area and clean your hand regularly if you touch and scratch it accidentally.
The habit of maintaining personal and environmental hygiene can prevent ringworm. These are several ways that can be done:
- Do not share personal items, such as shirts, pants, or towels, with others.
- Do not sleep in the same bed with ringworm sufferers.
- Wear footwear when in public places, such as public bathrooms.
- Do not use clothes that are narrow or whose material does not absorb sweat.
- Wash hands after skin contact with other people or pets infected with skin fungus.
- Clean the animal cage and surrounding area with a disinfectant.
- Take Shower, wash hair, and change clothes every day, and every time you sweat.
- Keep feet clean and dry.
- Pires, et al. (2014). Clinical, Epidemiological, and Therapeutic Profile of Dermatophytosis. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia, 89 (2), pp. 259-65
- American Academy of Dermatology (2018). Ringworm
- Mayo Clinic (2022). Ringworm (body) – Symptoms and causes.
- Healthline (2022). Everything You Want to Know About Ringworm.
- WebMD (2022). What You Should Know About Ringworm.