Ringworm

Introduction to What is Ringworm

Ringworm is a disease which is caused by many types of fungus. It is associated with a medical term which is “Tinea” or, “Dermatophytosis”.  When a fungal pathogen gets colonized in the upper layer of our skin then, a ring-like circular red, itchy rash is visible in the skin.  Some common names of Ringworm causing fungal organisms are Trichophyton, Microsporum, Epidermophyton. Skin, feet, nail, scalp of the human is affected by this fungus, and cats, dogs, and rodent animals are also affected by this pathogen. Usually, these fungi live for an extended period as spores in soils. Humans and animals are contaminated in touch with these spores. 

Types of Ringworm

Some types of ringworm are explained below on the basis of few infecting areas found in the human body.

  • Tinea cruris(Jock itch) -  It is more common in the genital area of men rather than women and it is caused in warm weather conditions.

  • Tinea pedis(Athlete’s foot) – It is more common in the feet and between toes and occurs due to keeping the feet wet or sweaty. 

  • Tinea corporis(Body ringworm) - It is more common in the body, skin folds, and face and happens in a warmer climate. 

  • Tinea capitis(scalp ringworm) – It is found in the area of the head and is considered to be very contagious. 

Ringworm Causes

As casual fungi live on the surface so some of the causes of the ringworm are mentioned below according to that context.

  • Human to human – When a healthy person comes in contact with an infected person either directly or through the skin.

  • Object to human – When a healthy human touches the objects of an infected person like comb, clothes, bedsheet, etc.

  • Animal to human - If a healthy person comes in contact with any ringworm infected pet like, cats, dogs, rodents like guinea pigs then it gets spread easily.

Ringworm Symptoms

On the basis of the infected organs, different symptoms are observed for ringworm.

  • If the skin is affected then red, itchy patches are observed. These patches may develop into blisters.

  • If nails are affected, then it becomes thicker, discolored, and cracked.

  • If the scalp is affected, then the hair of that particular region will fall off and bald patches will be observed.

Ringworm Treatment for Humans

Ringworms are treated by topical lotions, antifungal creams, and powder. Many non-prescription products are available to treat ringworm.

Some famous treatment creams which are used widely are known as Miconazole, Clotrimazole,  Terbinafine, Ketoconazole, etc.

Ringworm Diagram

Ringworm diagrams can be characterized by a red ring of small blisters or scaly skin. The infection spreads more as it grows outwards.

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Ringworm Prevention

Ringworm’s preventions are as follows. 

  • Always keep skin dry and clean.

  • Avoid walking barefoot in public showers. 

  • Clip and clean fingernails.

  • Do not use the same underwear for multiple days.

  • Do not share towels, clothing, and bedsheets, and keep it clean.

Ringworm Causative Agent

The main causative agent is Microsporum species which includes Microsporum canis, as the primary causative agent. As these organisms reproduce themselves by microscopic spores, so they belong to the Microsporum species.

Ringworm Scientific Name

More than 40 species of fungi can cause ringworm. 

Some scientific names of ringworms are as mentioned below :

  • Tinea pedis

  • Tinea cruris

  • Tinea capitis

  • Tinea barbae

  • Tinea Manuum

  • Tinea unguium

Precautions for Fungal Infection

To avoid fungal infections like ringworm we must take some precautions.

  • Always keep skin dry and clean.

  • Maintain good personal hygiene.

  • Add more green vegetables to diet along with proteins. 

  • Wash footwear and socks regularly to keep them clean.

Ringworm Mode of Transmission

No worm is involved in causing ringworm disease, as we know it is a fungal infection. This disease is transmitted through direct contact of a fungus with the skin. This contact may occur due to the user object of the infected person as mentioned earlier. 

Ringworm Fungal Infection Treatment

The best way to treat fungal infection is anti-fungal creams. Animal male ringworm infection is treated with topical therapy, in which anti-fungal cream is also used. Also, medicated cream ointments are used. 

Ringworm Diagnosis

  1. Ringworms are usually diagnosed by the observation of red lesions on the skin. But this is not a very accurate way and this could misdiagnose. 

  2. Few ringworms causing fungi show fluorescence under black light. This is also a widely used method for ringworm diagnosis.

  3. In another method of diagnosis potassium hydroxide(KOH) solution is used. KOH solution breaks apart normal skin cells which makes it easier to observe the fungal colony under a microscope. 

Ringworm Under Microscope

The microscopic view of trichophyton is given below and we can study the characteristics of fungi in a culture of trichophyton under a microscope.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is Ringworm Caused by a Worm? 

Ringworm is not caused by any worms. It is caused by the fungus pathogen. The fungus colonizes in the surface of the skin and due to the colonization red blisters can be observed on the skin. The itchy blister has a ring-like structure, so the disease is called ringworm disease. More than 40 types of fungus can cause ringworm and they all belong to the Microsporum species. They reproduce themselves by the spores. This fungus can affect cattle, pets, rodents as well as humans. Topical antifungal creams are used to treat the disease.

2. Is Ringworm Contagious?

Ringworm is a highly contagious infection. It is transmitted by the direct contact of the spores with skin. The symptom of this infection is red itchy blisters. It can affect a healthy man if he comes in direct contact with an infected person. It also gets transmitted through pets having this kind of infection. This fungus affects various organs of the body like scalp, nail, face, toe, and genital area are common. This fungus is usually observed in soil. Practicing personal hygiene, consuming a healthy diet, and avoiding the exchange of clothes can help to prevent this infection.