Ringworm, despite its name is not a worm and has nothing to do with worms. It is in fact a fungal infection. The reason for its name is due to what it looks like. That is, it appears as a round circle or ring on the skin of the patient. Very closely related to Ringworm is a condition known as Jock Itch where there is a fungal infection in the groin.
Ringworm causes include exposure to an infected person or animal. Ringworm is very contagious, and can be passed from person to person or from animal to person through physical contact with the infected area. It can also be passed through contact with infected objects such as sheets or hairbrushes. It is caused by a topical fungus, which thrives in warm moist areas. You become more susceptible to ringworm if you often sweat or live in warm moist areas. You are also at higher risk if you have minor abrasive injuries on your scalp or skin.
The symptoms of ringworm can be seen on the skin surface.
A doctor can diagnose ringworm just by taking a look at the infected areas. In some cases a more thorough analysis needs to be made to determine the nature of the fungus, so the doctor may take a small sample of skin tissue from the places where the fungus grows.
Symptoms of groin ringworm or better known as jock itch, produces a reddened, itchy area spreading from the genitals outwards over the inside of the thigh. It is best to keep the area well ventilated, because the infection thrives best in warm and moist conditions. An anti-fungal containing a mild antiseptic should clear the infection, it's important to continue treatment for at least a week after the ringworm has gone to ensure complete eradication of the fungus. If no improvement is noticed after two weeks, or the ringworm persists you should see your doctor.
Signs and symptoms of ringworm are physically visible. When there is already an appearance of one or more itchy patches in the skin with define edges most likely these are ringworms. Ringworms are different with rashes or other patches like those caused by insect bites. Ringworm patches appear like rings because they have lighter centers. When they are found in the nails, usually the nails discolor, thicken and fall.
As part of diagnosis, doctors may take skin scrapping or examine plucked hairs for traces of fungi. Fungi are very tiny beings so they are examined under the help of microscope. However, there are kind of fungi that fluoresce under a black light.
Treatment for Ringworm
Most infections can be treated with a home treatment for ringworm remedy. All you need to do is purchase some anti-fungal cream at your local pharmacy and apply it to the infected area. Most home treatment for ringworm creams are available without prescription. Make sure you wash the infected area thoroughly and remove any flaky skin. After that just dry the infected part and apply the home treatment for ringworm ointment. You will start to see results in a couple of days.
Most of these creams will remove the infection in approximately 4 weeks.
Jock Itch Treatment
Antifungal creams are available for this infection and are, often combined with a mild antiseptic and a mild steroid to reduce itching. Keeping the infected area clean and well ventilated plays an important role in healing this infection. If a topical treatment fails or the infection is widespread, you should see your doctor, where he may prescribe you some medication, such as fluconazole.