Everything you Need to Know About Ringworm and its Types

By ChemistsWorld On 10 Jul 2018

Ringworm, also known as the dermatophytosis, is due to a fungal infection of the skin. It develops on the upper layer of the skin. It is characterized by a red rash in the circular form with a clear skin in the middle. Ringworm can affect both animals and humans. The infection initially spreads on the affected areas of the skin and then later spreads on all the other parts of the body. Even though it is named as ‘ringworm’, it is not caused by any living parasite or a worm, rather it is caused by a type of fungus called ‘tinea’. It survives on the skin hair and nails.

Types of ringworm
Ringworms go by different names, depending on which part of the body is affected.

  • Ringworm of the body: They often appear as patches with the characteristic round shape like a ring.
  • Ringworm of the scalp: They often start as small sores that develop into scaly bad patches that are itchy. These are most common in children.
  • Athlete’s foot: This is the most common name for the ringworm infection on the foot. It is generally observed in individuals who go barefoot in public places like washrooms, swimming pools, locker rooms, etc.

Cause of Ringworm
There are three different types of fungi that cause this infection. They are Epidermophyton, Microsporum, and Trichophyton. It is even possible that these fungi will live for an extended period as the spores in the soil. Animals and humans can contract ringworm after the direct contact with the soil.

How is it diagnosed?
The doctor diagnoses ringworm by examining the skin and may possibly use a black light to view the skin in the affected area. The fungus will glow under the black light.

The doctor might request you the following certain tests:

  • If you are getting a KOH exam, the doctor may scrape off a small area of the infected skin and will place it potassium hydroxide. This way, the KOH eliminates the normal cells and leaves the fungal cells untouched, hence it is easy to see them under the microscope.
  • If you are getting a fungal culture or skin biopsy, the doctor will take the sample of the skin from the blister and will send it for the lab test to identify if there is a presence of the fungus.

Preventive measures of ringworm

  • Keep the feet dry and clean
  • Wear shoes is showering in community areas
  • Shower and shampoo your hair regularly
  • Avoid animals or people with ringworm if you have a weak immune system

Apart from the above tips, always pay attention towards your hygiene conditions and take precautions when in a public place. Like, carry a sanitizer to wipe your hands, every-time you touch a public tap.

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