One of the common skin disorders known is ringworm, also known as tinea. It has different forms, ranging from the most common type of affecting the skin (tinea corporis), the feet (athlete’s foot or tinea pedis), the groin area (jock itch or tinea cruris), and the scalp or tinea capitis.
Unlike what its name implies, ringworm is not caused by worms. It is actually characterized by rings or round lesions on the skin and the term was coined due to the belief that the infection was caused by worms or parasites. As well as the fact that its medical term or tinea, is actually a Latin term for growing worm. Although today’s research has clarified any confusions and proved that ringworm is caused by fungal infection, the term has already stuck and is continued being used to describe the condition.
Causes and Types
The world is full of different types of fungi, such as yeasts and molds, but not all of them causes skin problems. Fungi causing ringworms is called dermatophytes, which are microscopic organisms that can live off on the dead tissues of the hair, nails, and skin, the same way mushroom can live on a tree bark.
As mentioned above, there are different types of ringworm infection that affect different body parts. When this happens, small blisters or scaly skin in red rings are formed on the skin. As the infection spreads, the rings can grow outward and multiply if not treated immediately. Although children are more prone to being infected, adults can also catch ringworm for different reasons.
Tinea capitis affects children, more often in their late childhood or early adolescence. It can easily spread, especially in schools and in the classroom. Unlike dandruff or seborrhea, this type of ringworm does not cause hairloss.
Tinea pedis is more commonly known as athlete’s foot, associated with inflammation and scaling in between the toe webs. Among all types of ringworms, this is the most common and persistent infection. Besides athlete’s foot, another type of tinea pedis is the scaling and thickening of the skin on the soles and heels, as well as formed blisters on the sole and in between the toes.
Infection and treatment
Ringworm is an infection that is very contagious and has different ways of spreading from one person to another. It can be obtained from a person infected with ringworm, from an animal, soil, and even objects that have ringworms on it. Moisture and high temperature makes it possible for the fungi to grow and multiple, making them more contagious in areas were frequent sweating occurs, such as between the toes, skin folds, and even in the groin. Contaminated items like clothing, toilet articles, showers, and pool surfaces, make the risk of acquiring ringworm even higher.
When it comes to treatment, antifungal creams that contain ingredients like ketoconazole, clotrimazole, and miconazole, can do the trick of getting rid of ringworms. With continuous application, the infection can be treated in just two weeks. Prevention on the otherhand, will always be better than cure. So make sure to practice good hygiene to prevent risk of infection.