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Ringworm: Diagnosis and Treatment

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Ringworm: Diagnosis and Treatment

Barber’s itch, jock itch and athlete’s foot are all forms of ringworm infections. Ringworm can affect most parts of the skin and is more prevalent in humid weather. Ringworm infections cause a rash on the skin, most often in the shape of a ring.

Symptoms of Ringworm

Ring-shaped rashes are the most common symptom, but depending on which part of the body is affected, the signs of ringworm may differ.

For example, when a ringworm infection affects the toes, it causes dry, scaly, peeling skin. It can also cause blisters and bleeding. A person with an athlete’s foot infection may spread it to their hands if they touch their infected feet.

When ringworm affects the hands, it may cause rashes on the back of the hand or painful cracks on the palms. The infection may also spread to the nails.

Nails affected by ringworm become thick and brittle. Sometimes, a nail may lift off from the nail bed or start disappearing.

When ringworm spreads to the groin, it causes a rash that may affect the inner thigh, waist and buttocks. Rashes caused by ringworm infections are often painful and extremely itchy.

Ringworm infections can also afflict the beard and scalp area when it causes hair loss, bumps, swelling, open sores and flaky skin.

Ringworm Causes

Ringworm infections can spread quickly between people in close proximity, and it can also spread from animal to human. Fungi, present in the dead tissues of the skin and scalp, cause this type of infection.

A fungus called dermatophytes is the most common cause of ringworm. This fungus eats keratin, which is why it is attracted to the scalp, hair, nails and skin.


Diagnosing Ringworm

When diagnosing ringworm infections, a doctor examines the affected area and inquires about the patient’s medical history. The doctor will also ask about symptoms before taking a skin sample to test for infection. Sometimes, a diagnosis will include tests for underlying disorders, such as psoriasis.

How to Treat Ringworm

The doctor will also suggest to a patient how to treat ringworm infections or prescribe medical treatment.

Oral antifungal tablets and shampoos may help relieve the symptoms of ringworm on the scalp. Doctors often prescribe antifungal creams and oral medication for skin rashes.

During the healing stages of the infection, it is crucial to take care of the skin. After bathing or showering, the skin must be dry before dressing. People with groin and foot infections must wear clean socks and underwear daily.

Preventing Ringworm

If a cat or dog spreads ringworm to a family member, they must be treated by a veterinarian. If ringworm has spread to more than one family member, everyone in the house should check themselves for symptoms. Family members should also wash their hands often and avoid scratching affected skin. Scratching may cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body.

Clothes that come into contact with affected skin must be laundered in hot water using antifungal soap.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care

Visit ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care for Ringworm Treatment

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care provides patients with quality care and services. Staff are ER-trained to determine patient conditions, and patients only pay for the level of service they receive – either ER or urgent care. The emergency department is open 24/7 and the urgent care clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. You don't need an appointment. All walk-ins are welcome.

ProMedica Toledo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care is located at 1075 Medical Center Parkway, Maumee, OH 43537.