Ringworm is a fungal infection that occurs when parasites known as dermatophytes attack the keratin tissue of the skin or nails. Ringworm is easily spread by contact with soil, objects, animals, or people infected with the parasite.
Types of Ringworm:
The medical term used to identify the infection varies based on the part of the body affected.
- Tinea capitis refers to infections of the scalp.
- Tinea corporis refers to infections of the body.
- Tinea pedis, commonly known as athlete’s foot, refers to infections of the feet.
- Tinea cruris, commonly known as jock itch, refers to infections of the groin.
Symptoms of Ringworm:
The condition gets its name from the characteristic lesions that appear on the affected area of skin. The lesion typically starts as a flat, scaly area that is usually red and very itchy. The area slowly expands to create a tell-tale circular ring of red blisters resembling a worm or snake. The interior of the ring often remains pale and flaky. Anyone with a rash that does not resolve within a couple of weeks should see a dermatology professional at OC Skin Institute for diagnosis and treatment.
How Ringworm Is Diagnosed and Treated:
A board-certified dermatologist will typically diagnose the condition simply by visual examination. In some cases, it may be necessary to rule out other skin conditions, such as other types of fungal infections, psoriasis, or seborrhea. In these instances, small scrapings may be taken from the affected area to prepare a culture that is then examined under a microscope for the presence of the parasite. Less frequently, an ultraviolet light known as a Wood’s lamp may be used to show the presence of fungi in the skin or nail samples.
The treatment of ringworm normally involves over-the-counter antifungal creams or lotions. In cases where these treatments are unsuccessful, a dermatologist may prescribe oral antifungal medications.
Contact us at OC Skin Institute if you believe you have a fungal infection or ringworm.