Ringworm Symptoms

People often ask us about ringworm symptoms and how is ringworm spread.

Ringworm is a fungal infection and does not really have anything to do with worms. It gets its name from its ring-like appearance. Ringworm can occur on the scalp, body, hand, feet, and nails. When it occurs on the feet, it is often referred to as athlete's foot.

Ringworm symptoms include:
  • Red patches on the skin with lighter centers.
  • Itching and irritation of the skin.
  • Blisters that may or may not ooze.
  • Scaly patches of skin.
  • If the scalp is involved, bald patches may occur.
  • If the nails are involved, they may turn yellow and brittle.

How is ringworm spread? It can be spread directly through contact with an infected person or animal or indirectly through contact with an object that has been in contact with an infected person or animal. Domestic animals such as pets, especially cats, can carry the infection.

Ringworm spreads in areas that are damp and warm, such as gym locker rooms. That's why ringworm of the foot is often called athlete's foot.

Now that we know how is ringworm spread, we can look at ways to prevent it.

Ringworm is highly contagious. The spread of ringworm symptoms can be prevented by:

If you have ringworm, you should take the following steps to avoid spreading ringworm symptoms to others:

Ringworm can often be treated with over-the-counter medications. If these are not effective, or if you are not sure that ringworm is the cause of your skin condition, you can see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. If the doctor is not certain you have ringworm, he or she may take a scraping of the skin for analysis.

Over-the-counter creams such as Lotrimin or Mycelex can be used to treat ringworm symptoms. It usually takes up to four weeks for creams to be effective. Side effects may include skin rash, hives, blistering, burning, and other forms of skin irritation.

Then there are oral medications such as Diflucan, Lamisil, and Griseofulvin. These are available by prescription only. They usually must be taken for about two weeks in order to be effective. Side effects may include headache, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and in rare cases, serious liver damage.

Because of the risk of side effects and the lengthy treatment time with standard medical care, many people prefer to use natural products to treat ringworm symptoms.

See a doctor if your ringworm does not respond to treatment, or if you aren't sure if your condition is caused by ringworm. Ask your doctor for more information about how is ringworm spread.

More than ringworm symptoms on our fungus infections page

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