Ringworm Treatment: Symptoms and Diagnosis

What are the symptoms of ringworm? According to the Adam Medical Encyclopedia, the symptoms of ringworm include:

  • 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 also 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.

Below are images provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Public Health Image Library (PHIL), showing the different types of ringworm infection.

Ringworm infection affecting the toenails

Infection in the dorsum and lateral side of the left foot

Ringworm of the feet (tinea pedis)

Tinea Corporis affecting the leg

Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis)

Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis)

Ringworm infection of the face (Tinea faciei)

“Tinea Barbae” or “Barber’s Itch”; Ringworm of the bearded area of the face and neck

Before your doctor will recommend ringworm treatment, he or she will first determine if you have ringworm or another type of skin disorder (such as psoriasis or atopic dermatitis), based primarily on visual examination. Often, the diagnosis of ringworm is obvious from its location and the appearance of the skin. Your doctor will also be asking you about possible exposure to contaminated areas or contact with people or animals with ringworm.

If tests are needed, the fungus may appear fluorescent when your skin is examined under a blue light (called a Wood's lamp) in a dark room. A more definitive diagnosis can be established by taking scrapings from the affected area and examining the cells under a microscope or sending the sample to the laboratory for culture testing.

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