What is Ringworm? OR What Does Ringworm Look Like?
Well, for starters, ringworm has nothing at all to do with worms. Ringworm got its name from the characteristic ring that appears in the Rash that Looks like Ringworm. Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin. The Latin name is Tinea. Ringworm usually appears as a ring on the skin; see the picture above.
The second word in the name is the location, so for example tinea pedis would be ringworm of the foot, more commonly known as Athlete’s foot. Here is a list of different ringworm conditions.
- Tinea Capitis – Ringworm of the scalp and head
- Tinea Corporis – Ringworm of the body, this includes extremities, except feet
- Tinea Pedis – Ringworm of the foot , also called Athlete’s foot
- Tinea Unguium – Ringworm of the nail, also called Nail Fungal Infection
- Tinea Cruris – Ringworm of the groin, also called Jock Itch.
Many ask “can ringworm spread to the penis or can you get ringworm on the penis”? The answer is YES! Ringworm is a fungus on the skin and you can get it any place on the body.
Ringworm is very contagious. It is spread through direct contact with an infected surface or person. You do not need to contract ringworm from another human; it can be contracted from a variety of places. These include from pets, soil, shower stalls, gym surfaces, tables and chairs, telephones, hair brushes, hats, bed linens, socks, shoes, you can contact ringworm from shaving if you share a razor and any other surface that has come in contact with the infection.
Ringworm fungi can stay active for weeks or months in the open environment. When the fungus that causes ringworm release its spores is when the infection occurs, and ringworm fungus is very common especially in warm moist climates.
- Ringworm is a fungal infection and has nothing to do with worms.
- Ringworm can affect all parts of the body.
- Ringworm is contagious, being spread from animals, people, objects and dirt.
- Ringworm fungi can live in the open environment for months before causing infection.
DIAGNOSIS OF RINGWORM
The most common way to diagnose ringworm is the observation of red, itchy, raised patches with a defined edge. This edge will occasionally have a scaly appearance. These are most often round or oval in shape, hence the “ring” in the name.
There is no cure for ringworm. The fungus is readily available for you to snatch up virtually any place or it is on anything you touch; therefore you can not avoid catching the ringworm fungus you can only use preventative measures.
TREATMENT OF RINGWORM
For more information on the All Stop™ Healing Gel and Medicated Skin Cream, visit the All Stop™ Ringworm Treatment page.
Treating ringworm also includes treating your environment (your home). The use of Benzalkonium chloride hospital grade disinfectant sprays are critical to preventing reoccurrence of ring worm and they are easy to use and extremely effective for ringworm.
In the early part of the 20th century, ringworm was treated with Thallium; however Thallium is a radioactive metal. It is known as the “poisoner’s poison” as it’s often used to commit murder by radioactive poisoning. This was the main ringworm treatment for infants and children with the infection.
Another option for ringworm treatment for infants and children is anti-fungal granules that can be added to food, however this is only effective in treating ringworm of the scalp. Why would you want to give your ringworm treatment for infants and children anything toxic when there are safe proven alternatives.
Occasionally the ringworm itself can effect treatment. The itching and burning of the rash can be treated with Benzalkonium Chloride or MSM which will soothe the rash, while still treating the fungal infection itself. This can make the treatment of ringworm much more comfortable, especially for ringworm treatment for infants and children.
While treating ringworm is easy, it can be very stubborn if not using proven effective products. It can take weeks or months to completely get rid of the infection, and it is possible for the infection to spread from one area to another while treating, usually because you apply the medication and then touch another area of the body, transferring the infection. So while you are treating ringworm, make sure that you wash your hands well and use sanitizer before touching anything or anyone else. This will help keep from spreading the infection to others in the family, at work or at school.
Ring worm Home Remedies that Don’t Work (and Why the Don’t Work)
Now that we’ve discussed what to do to treat ringworms, let’s talk about what not to do. Many old wives tales that are considered a home treatment for ringworm or some of grandma’s best remedies call for doing things that are downright dangerous and painful. These include things like using a crochet hook or other sharp instrument to scratch the surface of the ringworm rash raw before applying medicine. This can lead to a secondary infection or deepening the fungal infection and can lead to scarring.
We are often asked “does bleach cure ringworm?” Applying bleach on ringworm is a bad idea. It will burn the rash intensely, and probably won’t do much to get rid of the ringworm fungus on the skin. Your skin acts like a sponge and bleach will be absorbed into the blood stream, and can be toxic. Avoid applying bleach on ringworm at all costs.
Several people recommend using urine. Opinions on this is mixed, some people say that in a pinch it will work, but common sense says that bodily waste is waste for a reason. You may end up with a secondary infection.
Applying apple cider vinegar for ringworm is another popular home cure for ringworm. However, applying it will probably burn badly, and the amount of sugar in the vinegar can actually feed the fungus in the infection, making it worse.
A Note about Ringworm on Animals
Ringworm is one of a few conditions that are communicable between humans and their pets. The fungus that causes ringworm lives in the dirt on the ground so as they go outside, they pick it up and bring it in to us. Not only do pets carry the fungus that causes ringworm, they are susceptible to the condition themselves.
No pet is immune — dogs, cats, horses, and other farm animals — but this is no reason to get rid of Fido, Fluffy, or Trigger. Pets can get ringworm by contact with humans, especially young animals, although this is more rare.
Ringworm Prevention for People and Pets
Preventing ringworm is as simple as washing your hands. After you come in contact with pets or farm animals, it’s a good idea to wash your hands. In addition to ringworm, pets can carry other serious diseases that affect humans. They can vary by breed but include things like salmonella, toxoplasmosis ( which is particularly harmful to pregnant women) and of course rabies, which is prevalent in many species of animals, and can affect humans. But simply by washing your hands, you can do a lot to stop the spread of these diseases in addition to ringworm.
If someone you know or one of your pets contracts ringworm, it’s important to avoid contact with the lesions. Ringworm and pets go hand in hand. Touching the lesions or rashes caused by ringworm is one of the primary ways to spread it.
The fungus that causes ringworm can live on surfaces for some time, and while the person who is infected with it should be taking steps to prevent spreading it, it is possible to get ringworm from things like chairs and tables. To learn how long can ringworm live on the furniture, keep reading. All surfaces and furniture should be disinfected after contact, using hospital grade disinfectant cleaner.
Anything that can be washed in the washing machine should be, using hot water and germicidal bleach if possible. Don’t share personal items such as clothing, socks, shoes, hats, hair brushes and combs, bedding, towels or anything else that comes in direct contact with the body.
Certain groups of people have an increased risk of contracting ringworm. These people include:
- Athletes, particularly wrestlers
- Those who live in a warm, damp climate
- Those with immune deficiencies, such as HIV, Cancer, or Diabetes
- Those who have been exposed to someone with ringworm, Gardeners or those who are in frequent contact with dirt
- Those who are in frequent contact with animals
As a final note, this guide is meant to be informative only. This guide is not designed or intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure ringworm or any other condition.