Ringworm Treatment: An Overview

Ringworm is a fairly common skin disorder, especially among children, although it does afflict people of all ages. For a successful ringworm treatment, it is important for us to learn about its causes, symptoms, methods of prevention, and related current medicinal practices.

What is ringworm?

The A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia describes ringworm as "skin infection caused by a fungus."

This fungal infection that develops on the top layer of your skin, also known as tinea, and usually characterized by "an itchy, red circle of rash with healthy-looking skin in the middle," can affect the different parts of your body. Commontinea (ringworm) infection includes:
  • Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis). This form affects your arms, legs, and trunk.
  • Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) This form is most common in children and involve red itchy patches on the scalp, leaving bald patches.
  • Jock Itch (tinea cruris). This form affects the groin area, your genitals, inner upper thighs, and buttocks.
  • Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) This form affects the moist areas between your toes and sometimes on your foot itself.
  • Tinea barbae: Ringworm of the bearded area of the face and neck, with swellings and marked crusting, often with itching, sometimes causing the hair to break off. In the days when men went to the barber daily for a shave, tinea barbae was called barber's itch.
Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler, a well-respected medical author and U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist, points out that although the term "ringworm" persisted from back when people believed in the misconception that this skin condition was due to a worm, it is in fact, not caused by a worm but by mold-like fungi called "dermatophytes."Dermatophytes live on the dead tissues on the skin and any structures that grow from the skin, such as hair or nails.

If left untreated, ringworm infections can linger on and become chronic and persistent, and may require stronger medication and a longer time to cure. Ringworm treatment is indeed, a major goal for most parents everywhere. Ringworm in areas like the arms, neck or face that are plainly visible may cause social embarrassment and reduced self-esteem especially among children and growing teen-agers.

Doctors from the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester,Minnesota, in their website article on the subject, point at a far more serious complication: " Although unsightly, ringworm usually isn't serious, except potentially for people with weak immune systems. A fungal infection rarely spreads below the surface of the skin to cause serious illness. However, people with weak immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, may find it difficult to get rid of the infection."

Ringworm treatment usually consists of antifungalmedications (external) that you apply to your skin or oral medication for more persistent cases. This is explained in detail below.

  • A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia: "Trusted Information for You." Service being provided by the U.S. NationalLibrary of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health through the Medline Plus medical resource website. 
  • MayoClinic.com: medical resource service by the highly-respected Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 
  • MedicineNet.com : "We Bring Doctors' Knowledge to You." 
  • Doctor's Pulse online column by Dr. Melissa ConradStoppler. Topics range from bed bugs, bee sting treatment, spring cleaning tips, night sweats, sleep,stress buster tips, fitness tips and more.

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