The word ringworm is itself a misnomer because the disease has nothing to do with worms. It is a fungal infection attacking the scalp, feet, groin or even the beard area. At first, it appears as red patches on the skin before it quickly spreads to other areas of the body. Being a fungal disease, it can very tricky to control and treat it.
Three types of fungi precipitate the disease. These are trichophyton, microsporum and epidermophyton . Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the names – they are fungi. What you need to know is that these fungi are the stubborn lot. They can stay for long periods of time on surfaces or soil before they die.
You should never walk around bare-foot. When your bare feet, or any other part of the body comes into contact with contaminated soil, you catch the disease.
Similarly, animals contract the disease by coming into contact with such soil. The infection can then be spread from man to animal or vice-versa. People may also infect each other by sharing items which have not been sterilized.
Prevention, as they say, is far much better and cheaper than having to cure the disease. You can easily keep ringworm at bay by practising hygienic and healthy behaviour. Since the disease can be spread by animals, remember to wash your hands thoroughly after hugging or holding you dog or cat. You would do well to limit your kisses to humans only – if you must kiss.
Keep all surfaces that animals frequently clean and disinfected. This is because while you may be careful not to contract the disease, your pet may not. It is likely to visit all sorts of places and sniff or rub itself on anything. Ensure that its pen is always hygienic and properly disinfected.
Avoid sharing personal items. Some may have fungal spores patiently lying in wait for you. Wear shoes whenever you use a public bathroom. Always keep your feet and skin dry.
If, by any chance, you contract ringworm, be sure to pay your doctor a visit. The doctor will prescribe various medicines depending on the extent of the infection. One such medication is Ketoconazole. The cream for ringworm that are FDA approved can be used but still a visit or consulting your doctor is more recommended.
You may also use over-the-counter drugs that contain miconazole or clotrimazole, ingredients that kill fungi. Some anti-biotics may also be used to treat any other conditions that may be brought about by ringworm.