Monthly Archives: June 2016

Is Ringworm Contagious? Get the Answer Here.

Having a skin condition called ringworm is usually enough for some people to ask a lot of rather panicked questions. Is ringworm contagious? What kinds of worms are we talking about?Is Ringworm Contagious

The truth of the matter is that ringworm is not caused by any sort of worm at all. Actually, the real culprit is a fungus called tinea, and the condition is called ringworm because if you’ve seen pictures of ringworm you’ll notice that the area around the rash seems like a ring.

And as for how contagious ringworm is, you have to be aware that it is highly contagious. In fact, skin doctors known as dermatologists estimate that about 10 to 20 percent of us will at some point develop at least one of these fungal infections.

What Causes Ringworm

The blame for ringworm can be attributed chiefly on some types of fungi. The word “fungi”, by the way, is plural, and the singular is “fungus”. Fungi are like plants, but they can’t turn sunlight into food and fuel (a process called photosynthesis) like most other plants do.

So what a fungus does is to break down living tissue so they can feed themselves, and it so happens that sometimes that living tissue is human tissue.

A fungus that infects human skin, as well as nails and hair, is called a dermatophyte. These dermatophytes are attracted to our skin surface, hair, and nails because these parts of the body contain a protein called keratin. The dermatophytes feed on the keratin, so they target the skin, hair, and nails.

When dermatophytes are looking for food, they can survive on the skin for months. These fungi are tiny, as they’re just microscopic spores. They are so resilient that they can also survive for a long time in other places, such as our clothes, in our combs, other household objects, or even the soil.

So How Do You Get Ringworm?

Basically, you get ringworm when you come into contact with the fungus that causes ringworm. It’s that simple.

  • You can get it from other people directly, simply by touching them or shaking their hands.
  • You can get ringworm when you touch an animal that’s hosting the tinea fungus. Pet dogs and cats are very common carriers and sources of tinea, since people like to pet and stroke their fur. Other animals can also be infected with tinea, including rabbits, mice, pet birds, horses, pigs, and cattle.
  • The infection may also happen through an indirect route, as infected animals and people can deposit some fungi spores on various objects. So you can get ringworm when you use a towel, a blanket, a pillow, clothes, a comb, or anything touched by an infected person.

Are You Likely to Get Ringworm?

It’s possible that you can get into contact with the tinea virus and still don’t get ringworm, because your immune system is able to protect you. But while you may not show the symptoms, you may still be a carrier and infect others whose immune systems are not that strong.

The type of people who are more likely to show ringworm symptoms include:

  • The very young. Children’s immune systems are not yet fully developed, so their chances of showing ringworm symptoms (a red itchy rash) are higher. In addition, they tend to play with other children a lot, and a child can get the fungus from other kids while playing.
  • The very old. Older people no longer have strong immune systems too, so they face a greater risk.
  • People who have had a fungal infection before. The infection can be a recurring problem.
  • Animal lovers. If you like petting animals or if you live with someone who’s often in contact with animals, the chances of infection also rises.
  • Sports participants. This is especially true with contact sports. Aside from the physical contact, other risk factors include sharing changing rooms and showers, where the fungus can be deposited.
  • Those who like to wear tight clothes. Fungi simply love dark places that are humid. Tight clothes impede ventilation, which creates ideal environments for fungi.
  • Those who sweat a lot. Moist skin makes for especially nurturing areas for fungi.
  • People who live in damp and humid living areas. The problem gets worse when the living quarters are crowded.
  • People with compromised immune systems. These include suffering from HIV infection or AIDS, diabetes type 1, arteriosclerosis, vascular conditions, and even just obesity.

Treatment for Humans

For the most part you can just take phytozine to treat the problem. Only if that doesn’t work should you go to a doctor and get something stronger. The problem is that these stronger medicines can cause rather disturbing side effects.

One possible treatment is terbinafine, which is not recommended for those who have liver problems. Side effects may include nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, and even new skin rashes. Another side effect may be problems with the sense of smell, although this is rare.

Griseofulvin is another possibility, although pregnant women must not take them because of the possibility of birth defects. Men who have taken this treatment should also wait for at least 6 months after stopping the treatment before trying to get a woman pregnant.

Other side effects include mild diarrhea, indigestion, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Griseofulvin makes the symptoms of alcohol worse, and it may also affect your ability to operate heavy machinery or drive safely.

What Else Should You Do?Is Ringworm Contagious

While you’re getting treatment, you should also take care of your skin properly. You should wash your skin regularly so you can clean the infection.

Then afterwards you should dry the wet skin gently but thoroughly. In the more tender areas of the body, you should pat the skin with your towel instead of rubbing the skin with the towel. Every area should be wiped dry, including the skin between your toes.

If you have ringworm, you should change your underwear often.

Is ringworm contagious to other parts of your body? Yes, it is. Once you get ringworm in one part you should also make sure you try not to spread the fungi to other parts of your body.

Ringworm Diagnoses of Tinea Corporis, Tinea Capitis and Tinea Pedis

How serious is it for you if you get ringworm diagnoses of tinea corporis, tinea capitis, and tinea pedis? While the Latin terms do sound ominous and serious, they’re actually referring to types of skin infections known as ringworm.A ringworm diagnoses of Tinea Corporis

What is Ringworm?

Have you got a rather itchy and scaly red rash on your skin? Or perhaps it’s on your scalp or even in your beard area. The rash may also appear between your toes or within the folds of your inner thigh.

Those are all types of ringworm infection. You don’t have to worry all that much, though, because there are cures for ringworm and in the vast majority of cases a treatment of Phytozine will suffice. In a month or so it can be truly gone.

Despite the name, ringworm isn’t actually caused by a worm. It’s actually caused by fungi, and these fungi are microscopic spores that feed on the protein found in skin, hair, and nails. The name makes more sense when you see ringworm pictures, because the rashes look like a worm forming a circle.

When you see the images of ringworm …. Tinea Corporis, Tinea Capitis and Tinea Pedis …. You’ll notice that classifying the type of ringworm relies a lot in where the skin condition appears on your body. Sometimes the treatment for ringworm prescribed by the doctor will depend on what kind of ringworm infection you have.

Tinea Corporis

When the ringworm appears on your body (torso, arms, and legs) it’s called tinea corporis. It can be acute, and appear and spread quickly, or it can be chronic and the mild rash can spread slowly. It may affect the exposed areas, but it may spread from other sites of the body.

This is the type of ringworm that presents the classic ringworm rash.

It’s caused by a fungus, but many different fungi can cause tinea corporis. When the acute tinea corporis results in a red patches that are itchy, inflamed, and sometimes pustular, it may be caused by a type of animal fungus like M. canis, which is the fungus often found in cats and dogs. In farm cattle, the most common fungus is the T. verrucosum.

On the other hand, chronic tinea corporis is most commonly caused by the fungus called T. rubrum (Trichophyton rubrum). Chronic tinea corporis is commonly found in body folds, and when they become widespread through the body they’re more difficult to treat and the chances of reoccurring are greater. This is either because the skin’s natural resistance to the fungus has weakened or because the environment is full of fungal spores.

In New Zealand, the most common fungal cause of ringworm is the T. rubrum. In the Pacific islands and other tropical areas, sometimes the fungal culprit is the T. concentricum, which results in concentric scaly brown rings.

Tinea Capitis

This is what you call a ringworm infection when it attacks the scalp, although it can affect the eyebrows and eyelashes as well. It tends to attack the hair shafts and follicles. As a result, you often see bald spots in the affected areas.

The symptoms of tinea capitis include dry scaling (which is like dandruff but with moth-eaten hair loss), black dots (when the hair is broken off at the scalp surface), smooth bald spots, kerion (an inflamed mass like an abscess), and favus (matted hair and yellow crusts). Sometimes there is only mild scaling, and there may be no symptoms at all. But the carrier of the fungal spores can still infect others.

It’s more common in children than in adults, although it can affect adults too. It’s most common among children ages 3 to 7 years old, and when found in a child even the adults in the family should also be checked for ringworm. It’s also prevalent in crowded living conditions.

The method of infection depends largely on the fungal spore responsible for the ringworm. In the US, one common cause of tinea capitis is the T. tonsurans fungus that naturally infects humans. Because of this, the common infection method is through personal contact between two people (or people sharing infected items or surfaces).

In New Zealand, however, M. canis is the most common fungal source of tinea capitis. This is a fungus that grows naturally on an animal, which is usually an infected kitten. Other fungal carriers include cattle (T. verrucosum), horses (T. mentagrophytes var. equinum), and pigs (M. nanum).

There are several other types of fungi that can cause tinea capitis. In Africa, the cause is often the fungus T. violaceum. Even some fungi that come from the soil can cause tinea capitis, although this is rare.

Tinea capitis can be categorized by how the fungus attacks the hair shaft. An ectothrix infection is when the fungus covers the outside of the hair, and often this infection can be identified with the use of ultraviolet light (Wood’s lamp). An endothrix infection can’t be identified with a Wood’s lamp, but it is characterized by the fungus filling the shaft of the hair.

Tinea PedisA ringworm diagnoses of Tinea Corporis

This one should be more familiar for you, because the term tinea pedis is just a fancy medical term for the pedestrian affliction known more as athlete’s foot. It’s usually caused by T. rubrum, which originated in the tropical areas in the Pacific.

Interestingly enough, the Asian people there didn’t get athlete’s foot until they began to wear shoes because of the colonization. When the colonizers went back to Europe, they brought the fungus there and it spread to the US. It’s because of this colonization and the popularity of wearing shoes which have made the T. rubrum the most prevalent ringworm-causing fungus in the world today.

Again, you treat this type of ringworm with an antifungal cream such as Phytozine. You need to make sure that you keep the areas between your toes dry at all times, and you should change your socks daily. And don’t even think about lending or borrowing socks.