Although it is called ringworm, it is not actually caused by a worm, but rather a fungus. Ringworm is a common fungal infection affecting the skin caused by dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are microscopic organisms that live on the top layer of the skin and do not go any deeper. They feed on the keratin. They are more common in young children than in adults. It may also occur in the skin of pets and domesticated animals.
Classification of Ringworms in the Body
The types of ringworms in the body are dependent on their location and the species of fungie involved. Some of these include:
- Face: Tineafaciei
- Facial hair: Tineabarbae
- Scalp: Tineacapitis
- Hands and palms: Tineamanuum
- Groin: Tineacruris (jock itch)
- Arms, legs and trunk: Tineacorporis
- Fingernails and toenails: Tineaunguium
- Feet: Tineapedis (athlete’s foot)
Causes of Ringworms in the Body
The type of fungus that causes ringworms lives on the layer of the skin and the hair, where it is rich of keratin. They thrive in warm, moist areas, such as in swimming pools, folds of the skin, etc. Ringworm is highly contagious and can be spread through multiple ways.
- Direct contact
- Skin-to-skin contact with a person
- Touching an infected animal
- Indirect contact
- Sharing clothing, towels
Symptoms of Ringworms in the Body
Incidentally, despite the misleading name, ringworms are called such due to the formation of a ring mark rash due to the very itchy nature. Occasionally, it is just a red, itchy rash. To diagnose if one has ringworm, a scraping from the rash may be checked under the microscope.
- Typically two inches
- Inflammation surrounding the ring but looks normal/ healthy in the middle
- Commonly found in the trunk, legs, arms, neck and face
- Expansion of rings of red
- Scaly skin or crusts
- Jock itch: itching on the groin area, which may develop in the inner thighs and buttocks
- If present in the hand,
- Similar to athlete’s foot in appearance
- Thick, dry and scaly skin of the palm
- Area between fingers may have open sores
Treatment for Ringworms in the Body
Ringworms usually go away without seeking medical advice, however, when the rashes of the skin do not improve within two weeks, seek medical treatment. Prescription medication may be given. Moreover, if there is excessive redness, swelling or fever, it is better to go to a doctor. When antifungal creams or ointments are required:
- Apply topical antifungal medication to the rash and at least one inch beyond the borders. Apply twice a day for at least two weeks and even a week after they disappear.
- Ensure that affected region is clean and dry at all times.
- Maintain proper hygiene and frequently wash the hands and body with water and soap.
- Clean the clothes and beddings in hot soapy water on a regular basis. If possible, heat dryer the laundry items as heat is a highly effectual killer of ringworms.
- Avoid physical contact to prevent spreading.
Complications from pinworms in the body rarely occur, however, proper treatment must be administered quickly to remove sores. First aid courses train the community to recognize symptoms of various conditions, including in ringworms in the body.