Who can be affected by ringworm? Actually, anyone can be infected by ringworm disease. Even if you are rich, you can be infected. There are no exceptions for ringworm. But what really is ringworm? What is it like? How can it spread? And most importantly, how can you prevent it?
Ringworm is a fungal infection. The specific causative agents for ringworm are dermatophytes. These are a type of fungi that are keratinophilic and keratinolytic. In a short explanation, they are fungi that feed on and digest the keratin component of the skin.
You can say that it is ringworm if it is an itchy rash with edges that are red in color and elevated. Sometimes crust is formed on the edges. The center of the rash can appear to be normal, shiny, or scaly. But these are not the only signs of ringworm.
Some types of ringworm have a distinct set of characteristics. For example, ringworm of face, hair, and beard is associated with hair loss. Ringworm of the body and groin have the classic signs of the disease plus the rashes can increase in size. Meanwhile, ringworm of hands and feet are scaly. It also causes the skin on the hands and feet to thicken. And the ringworm of the nail causes the nails to be yellow. The nails can possibly be detached to the nail bed painlessly.
Ringworm disease can be spread easily. It is a contagious disease so you have to know its modes of transmission. Skin to skin contact is usually the most common spread of ringworm. It happens when the skin of an infected person comes in contact directly to your skin. Animal to pet transmission is also possible. Usually, pets like dogs and cats transfer the fungi to human through direct contact. Fomites can also spread the infection. These are objects that are contaminated by the ringworm. Examples of fomites are towels, socks, slippers, combs, and hats.
Now, who are at risk from getting the ringworm disease? As I have said earlier, anyone is at risk. But there are people who have a higher risk of contacting ringworm infection. In general,
some of them are:
– People living in warm and moist places. These people have a high risk for fungal infections because fungi best thrives in these kinds of places.
– People who have suppressed immune system. People who have HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc. are some example. Their fighting mechanism is not that good enough to combat fungal infection.
More specific examples are:
– Wrestlers. They can be at risk in acquiring ringworm because the sports require a close contact with the other player. In addition, wrestlers usually play with minimal clothes on and they can sweat heavily when playing.
– Athletes. Athletes can get ringworm. Hence, ringworm of the feet is called athlete’s foot. Fungi love to thrive on their skin because they swear excessively.
– Children. Ringworm of the scalp is common in children. Children may have passed the infection through sharing of combs and hats.
– Laundrywomen and other jobs that require to their hands and feet to get wet. Ringworm thrives in moist environment. If your skin is moist or wet most of the time, you will more likely get ringworm.
– Farmers. You can get the ringworm disease from soil. Handling of soil can increase your risk of infection.
– People who wear ill-fitting jeans. Ill-fitting clothing does not allow air to pass on the skin. If this happens, your skin will be the best environment for fungi causing ringworm.
Ringworm is easily treated by antifungal creams. They are usually applied topically once or twice a ay. The treatment for ringworm can last up to eight weeks. Yes, it’s a long treatment process, but you have to complete it for you to be 100% ringworm-free. Some examples of antifungal cream your doctor might prescribe are Selenium Sulfide, Ketoconazole, and Miconzole.
Ringworm is really an irritating disease. Why go though all these when you can prevent it. Right?