Ringworm is a fungal skin infection usually caught by being in close contact with infected animals or people. Ringworm is seen in different forms depending on which part of the body is infected.
Ringworm of the body (Tinea corporis), has circular lesions with raised borders, which expand outwards and tend to clear in the middle.
Ringworm that affects the feet (Tinea pedis) is also known as Athletes Foot and is particularly common. Here the lesions usually start between the 3rd and 4th toes, spreading to the soles of the feet. They usually start by looking like tiny blisters, which can burst and become itchy and infected.
Toenails can also become infected leading to (Tinea unguium); fingernails are less common.
Ringworm of the scalp (Tinea capitis) is mainly seen in children but can affect adults who have neglected their personal hygiene. It is very contagious and there are several species, some will cause damage to the hair as well as the scalp.
Treatment is dependent on the location, but most will respond to Griseofulvin or other anti-fungal treatments. In order for fungal infections to thrive they require damp warm conditions. If care is taken in keeping feet, fingernails etc. clean and dry, it is less likely to thrive.
Treatment may be required to continue over a period of time as fungus produce spores that can re-infect. It is also necessary to wash clothing, towels thoroughly and put an anti-fungal powder in your shoes in the case of Athletes foot, to prevent re-infection.
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