What is ringworm?
Ringworm, or dermatophytosis, is a superficial fungal infection of the skin. Having nothing to do with parasitic worms as the name suggests, ringworm is actually a condition caused by several different species of fungus. The fungi that cause this parasitic infection (dermatophytes) feed on keratin, the material found in the outer layer of skin, hair and nails. These fungi thrive on skin that is warm and moist, but may also survive directly on the outsides of hair shafts or in their interiors. In pets, the fungus responsible for the disease survives in skin and on the outer surface of hairs. Ringworm belongs to a group of superficial fungal infections that are usually classified according to the location on the body.
Dermatophytosis (tinea) may affect the scalp (tinea capitis), the bearded skin of the face (tinea barbae), the body (tinea corporis – mainly affecting children), the groin (tinea cruris or jock itch), the nails (tinea unguium), and the feet (tinea pedis or athlete’s foot). These disorders vary from mild inflammations to acute vesicular reactions that can be dangerous if left untreated.
Infections on the skin of the body, which are most common, will give rise to typical enlarging raised red rings of ringworm that become extremely itchy and irritating. These rings will become increasingly more irritating if not treated quickly and can lead to open sores, painful stinging and eventually heavy scarring.
Other close forms of fungal infection include the infection of the skin of the feet, which causes athlete’s foot, and infections in the groin area, which causes jock itch. Involvement of the nails is termed onychomycosis, and they may thicken, discolor, and finally crumble and fall off. For more information on onychomycosis, please read more about our toenail fungus treatment.
Ringworm infections result from several different fungi. Transmission can occur directly through minimal contact with infected lesions or indirectly through contact with contaminated articles such as shoes, towels or shower stalls. Another predisposing factor is the combination of warm weather and tight clothing, which encourages fungus growth.
These infections are common in most adult people, with over 20 percent of the United States population having one of these infections at any given moment.
Ringworm specifically tends to get worse during the summer season or in locations that have a warmer, humid climate. Animals such as dogs and cats can also be affected by ringworm and the disease can easily be transmitted between animals and humans.
Although remissions and exacerbations are common, the success rate of people treating their infection with PHYTOZINE is extremely high. However, it is important to begin treatment as soon as an infection is suspected because nearly 25 percent of all infected people develop chronic conditions. Ringworm lesions vary in appearance and duration so the early treatment begins, the better the chance for full and complete elimination.
- Avoid sharing clothing, sports equipment, towels, or sheets.
- Washing clothes in hot water with fungicidal soap after suspected exposure to ringworm.
- Avoid walking barefoot; instead wear appropriate protective shoes in locker rooms and sandals at the beach or gym.
- After being exposed to places where the potential of being infected is great, one should wash with an antibacterial and anti-fungal soap or one that contains tea tree oil.
- Avoid touching pets with bald spots, as they are often carriers of the fungus.
The skin should be kept dry, since moist skin favors the growth of fungi. Dry the skin carefully after bathing and let it dry completely before putting on any clothing. Loose-fitting underwear is also recommended and socks should absolutely be changed daily. Sandals or open-toed shoes may be beneficial and using talc or other drying powders can also be helpful.