Rooting out Ringworm?
How does one get ringworm, and how do you get rid of it?
Ringworm hasn't got anything to do with worms. It is a common fungal infection that you can pick up from other people -- and from dogs and cats. These infections, caused by the tinea fungus, typically affect children -- but adults can get them, too. A ringworm is a pinkish red rash that develops on the skin and spreads in a circle that rings a center of normal looking skin. The edge of the circle is raised and looks something like a worm under the skin. Tinea skin infections on the trunk of the body, or on the scalp, are called ringworm, but tinea infections on the feet are known as athlete's foot; and when tinea affects the groin area, it's called "jock itch."
Ringworm is diagnosed on the basis of its distinctive appearance, but because it sometimes can be mistaken for other skin conditions, doctors usually scrape off a few scales for examination under the microscope. The infections rarely cause serious problems, although people with weakened immune systems may have some trouble getting rid of them.
Most cases of ringworm are treated with topical antifungal creams, powder, or liquids such as Lotrisone, Micatin, Monistat-Derm, or Tinactin, which you can get over-the-counter. Follow your doctor's instructions or the directions on the label about how often and how long to use these medications. Don't exceed the recommended dosage. For stubborn cases, your physician may recommend a prescription fungicidal cream.
To prevent tinea infections, take the following precautions:
Check your pets for areas of hair loss, a sign that animals have a tinea infection.
Change your socks and underwear daily, especially during hot weather.
Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, particularly locker rooms, and always dry your feet carefully after showering in locker rooms.
Tea-tree oil can help eliminate the rash but doesn't completely kill the fungus that's responsible for the infection. Ringworm and other fungal infections are a nuisance, but they're relatively easy to treat if you follow instructions.