Do you have Ringworm? Check the symptoms
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Ringworm is a rash caused by a fungal infection. Although it is called ringworm, no worm is involved. The infection got its name through its circular, worm-like appearance. While ringworm is normally harmless and easy to treat, it can spread and cause serious illness. Express.co.uk reveals how to get rid of ringworm and how to stop it from spreading while it’s being treated.
Ringworm is really difficult to prevent because the fungus which causes it is common so it’s very contagious even more symptoms appear.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the infection is caused by mould-like parasites that live on the cells in the outer layer of your skin and it can be spread from human to human by skin-to-skin contact.
Ringworm can also be spread from animal to human, so you can catch it from an infected animal such as a dog, cat or cow when you’re petting or grooming it.
You can even catch ringworm from an object, surface or soil that has been touched or rubbed against by an infected person or animal.
The main symptom of ringworm is a rash that is red, silver or darker than the surrounding skin.
The rash is often scaly, dry, swollen or itchy and it can appear anywhere on the body including the scalp and groin.
Some people are at higher risk of ringworm, and luckily you can change some of these things.
For example, if you share clothing, bedding or towels with someone who has a fungal infection or wears tight or restrictive clothing, you’re more likely to get ringworm.
People who have a weak immune system, live in a warm climate, or participate in sports that feature skin-to-skin contact are also at higher risk of ringworm.
You can’t really prevent ringworm, but you should still try to reduce your risk.
The Mayo Clinic advises everyone to spread the word about ringworm, how you can catch it, what to watch for and how to avoid infection.
Animals infected with ringworm often have a patch of skin where fur is missing, so try and avoid touching animals with this symptom.
Always wash your hands and keep any shared areas clean, especially in schools, gyms and locker rooms.
If you go to the gym or play contact sports, shower straight after and keep your uniform, gear and towels clean.
Don’t let anyone else borrow your clothing, towels, hairbrushes, sports gear or other items and don’t borrow other people’s items either.
Don’t wear any thick clothing for long periods of time in hot weather and try to avoid any excessive sweating in hot weather.
How to get rid of ringworm
Over-the-counter treatments from the pharmacist might work, but if your doctor has diagnosed the ringworm they’ll be able to give you prescription-strength antifungal medications.
This may come in the form of a lotion, cream or ointment and you’ll need to apply it to the affected skin.
Usually, you’ll need to use the medicine every day for up to four weeks even if the rash has disappeared.
If the rash grows, spreads or there’s more than one you may need antifungal pills instead.
The 6 ways to stop ringworm from spreading
On top of starting the treatment as soon as possible, you need to take the following six pieces of advice:
- Wash your towels and bedsheets regularly
- Do not share towels, combs or bedsheets with someone who has ringworm
- Do not scratch a ringworm rash (this could spread it to other parts of your body)
- Keep your skin clean and wash your hands after touching animals or soil
- Regularly check your skin if you have been in contact with an infected person or animal
- Taking your pet to the vet if they could have ringworm (e.g. patches of missing fur)
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