Ringworm; Causes, Treatment!

I believe a good number of us might have been hearing of ringworm, when we were young & we would be wondering what it is. It is known by different things in different languages.

What is it called in your language?

Table of content

What is Ring worm

Ring worm is a fungus that affects the skin of the body. There are different types of ringworm depending on what part of the body they affect. They include;

Tinea Corporis: this is a fungal infection of the skin, most common on the exposed surfaces of the body, such as the face, arms and shoulders.
Symptoms: This infection presents like a round ring-like swellings (which is why it is called ring-worm), just like an onions that was cut into half.

Ringworm lesion seen on the left side of the face. Image Credits: Monitor

In the early stages, you might see only one or few ring-like lesions, & such persons would need only topical treatments with creams.
If detected late, the ring-like swellings might have spread all over the body, due to the person’s delay in seeking treatment. It is also seen in malnourished or immunosuppressed persons e.r: in diabetics.

Treatment

You should know that it is always important to see your doctor in all cases for treatment & follow up on your condition.

  • An cream or ointment containing the antifungal drug, imidazole would be helpful for this condition. Use this twice daily for a minimum of 4 weeks.
  • Continue treatment till one week after all the ring-like swellings have cleared.

In cases where it is detected late & has spread round the body, some oral medication may be needed:

  • the antifungal, Griseofulvin is helpful in this case.
  • another option is Ketaconazole.

Tinea Capitis: This is when the ringworm infection affects the scalp (that is the top of the head, where the hair is). This is usually more common in children.
In this type, there is usually small pustules (or rashes) on the head.
There might be swelling in the neck and the person may also have a fever and headache.

Ringworm infestation of the scalp
Ringworm of the Scalp, seen in a young boy. Image credits: Parents Africa

In this case, treatments with creams or ointment alone would not be enough to remove it. Oral medication would be necessary to prevent scarring leading to permanent bald patches.

Treatment of tinea capitis include;

  • Griseofulvin is helpful for both Adult & children.
  • Add miconazole miconazole ointment topically for 4 weeks or continue after 12 weeks if the infection has not cleared completely.

See your doctor for dosages of these drugs that is suitable for you.

  • you can also use Ketaconazole or terbinafine or itraconazole.
  • you should also ask other siblings or friends for signs of infection and have them treated too.

Authors

  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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