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Ringworm

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(beeping) (peaceful music) - [Narrator] Now, let's talk about ringworm. Ringworm is a common infection of the skin and nails that is caused by a fungus. The infection is called ringworm because it can cause an itchy, red, circular rash. The different types of ringworm are usually named for the location of the infection on the body. There are approximately 40 different species of fungi that can cause ringworm. The scientific names are many, but they all are some form of fungi that causes the same ringworm-like shape rash. The areas of the body that can be affected by ringworm include the feet, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks, scalp, beard, hands, toenails and fingernails, and other parts of the body such as the arms or legs. So, who is at risk for ringworm? You're at higher risk for ringworm if you live in a warm climate, have close contact with an infected person or animal, share clothing, bedding, or towels with someone who has a fungal infection, participate in sports that feature skin-to-skin contact, such as wrestling, wear tight or restrictive clothing, or have a weakened immune system. Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection caused by mold-like parasites that live on the cells in the outer layer of your skin. It can be spread in the following ways. Human to human. Ringworm often spreads by direct, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Animal to human. You can contract ringworm by touching an animal with ringworm. Ringworm can spread while petting or grooming dogs or cats. It's fairly common in cows. Object to human. Ringworm can spread by contact with objects or surfaces that an infected person or animal has recently touched or rubbed against, such as clothing, towels, bedding and linens, combs, and brushes. Soil to human. In rare cases, ringworm can be spread to humans by contact with infected soil. Infection would most likely occur only from prolonged contact with highly infected soil. With an incubation period of between four and 14 days, ringworm can affect skin on almost any part of the body, as well as fingernails and toenails. The symptoms of ringworm often depend on which part of the body is infected, but they're generally going to include itchy skin, ring-shaped rash, red, scaly, cracked skin, and even hair loss if the rash is where there's normal hair follicles. There are two different levels most commonly known for the severity of the lesion. A classic lesion is an erythematous, raised, scaly ring with central clearing. A more severe one can range from mild, scaly lesions to lesions that are characteristic of a superimposed bacterial infection. The symptoms of ringworm are sometimes known by the location of the body. If it's on the feet, it's known as athlete's foot. It's noted by red, swollen, peely, itchy skin between the toes, especially between the pinky toe and the one next to it. The sole and heel of the foot may also be affected. In severe cases, the skin on the feet may also blister. If it is on the scalp, it is known technically as tinea capitis. It's a scaly, itchy, red, circular bald spot, and the bald spot can grow in size and include multiple spots that may develop if the infection spreads. This is more common in children. If the infection is around the groin area, it's known as jock itch. It is noted by a scaly, itchy, many red spots, usually on the inner sides of the skin folds of the thigh. If it is in the beard, there are scaly, itchy, red spots on the cheeks, chin, and upper neck. The spots might become crusted over or filled with pus, and the affected hair may fall out. We diagnose ringworm through a physical examination. A thorough history and physical examination is often sufficient to diagnose ringworm. Microscopy. Potassium hydroxide stain, a commonly-used method for diagnosing tinea, because it is an inexpensive, easy to perform, and has high sensitivity. Scrapings from the lesions are placed in a drop of KOH and examined under a microscope for the presence of fungal hyphae. Ultraviolet light, or Wood's lamp. Normally, ultraviolet light is not useful in the diagnosis of tinea, with the exception of two species, Microsporum canis and audouinii, which are both uncommon. Or, a culture. Fungal culture can be performed as a confirmatory test if results from a KOH stain are inconclusive. Hair and or scrapings extracted from the affected area is placed on a Sabouraud's medium. Fungal culture is more specific than KOH stain, but it can take up to three weeks to become positive. There is a period of communicability. A person can spread ringworm as long as lesions are present and viable fungus persists on contaminated materials and surfaces. So, what is the treatment for ringworm? The treatment for ringworm depends on its location on the body and how serious the infection is. Some forms of ringworm can be treated with nonprescription, over-the-counter medications, but other forms of ringworm need treatment with prescription antifungal medication. Ringworm on the skin, like athlete's foot and jock itch, can usually be treated with nonprescription antifungal creams, lotions, or powders applied to the skin for two to four weeks. Ringworm on the scalp usually needs to be treated with prescription antifungal medication taken by mouth for one to three months. Creams, lotions, or powders do not work for ringworm on the scalp. You should contact your healthcare provider if your infection gets worse or doesn't go away after using nonprescription medications, or you or your child has ringworm on the scalp. Ringworm prevention. Keep your skin clean and dry. Wear shoes that allow air to circulate freely around your feet. Don't walk barefoot in areas like locker rooms or public showers. Clip your fingernails and toenails short and keep them clean. Change your socks and underwear at least once a day. Do not share clothing, towels, sheets, or other personal items with someone who has ringworm. Wash your hands with soap and running water after playing with pets. If you suspect that your pet has ringworm, take it to see a veterinarian. If you're an athlete involved in close contact sports, shower immediately after your practice session or match and keep all of your sports gear and uniform clean. Don't share sports gear, like a helmet, with other players.

In this lesson, you'll be learning all about ringworm – what it is, who is most at risk, signs and symptoms, along with the customary treatment options and prevention techniques.

Ringwork is a common infection of the skin and nails that's caused by a fungus. The infection is called ringworm because it causes an itchy red circular red rash. However, there are also different types of ringworm that have a variety of names based on the location. In fact, there are approximately 40 different species of fungi that can cause ringworm.

Areas of the body that can be affected by ringworm include:

  • Feet
  • Hands
  • Fingernails and toenails
  • Groin area – inner thighs, buttocks, etc.
  • Scalp
  • Beard area on face and neck
  • Arms and legs

Who is Most at Risk?

You have a higher risk of getting ringworm if you:

  • Live in a warm climate
  • Have close contact with an infected person or animal
  • Share clothing, bedding, or towels with an infected person
  • Participate in sports with skin-to-skin contact, such as wrestling
  • Wear tight or restrictive clothing
  • Have a weakened immune system

Ringworm is a fungal infection caused by mold-like parasites that live on cells in the outer layer of the skin. And it can be spread in the following ways:

  1. Human to human through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
  2. Animal to human by touching an animal with ringworm, such as petting or grooming dogs and cats. It's also fairly common in cows.
  3. Object to human by contact with infected objects, surfaces, etc.
  4. Soil to human by contact with infected soil, though this is rare and requires a prolonged exposure.

The incubation period is between four and 14 days after exposure.

Signs and Symptoms of Ringworm

Ringworm can affect the skin on almost any area of the body, as well as fingernails and toenails. The symptoms typically depend on the body part affected but generally include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Ring-shaped rash
  • Red, scaly, cracked skin
  • Hair loss

There are two different classification of ringworm lesions – classic and severe.

  1. Classic lesions – a raised, scaly ring with a central clearing
  2. Severe lesions – scalier in nature, more like a superimposed bacterial infection

The symptoms and type of ringworm depend on the location of the body affected.

  1. Feet – ringworm on the feet is known as athlete's foot and known by red, swollen, peeling, itchy skin between the toes, particularly the pinky toe and the toe next to it. The soles and heels can also be affected, and in severe cases, the skin can blister.
  2. Scalp – also known as tinea capitis, it appears as scaly, itchy, red, circular bald spots that can grow in size. There can be multiple spots if the infection spreads, and this type is more common in children.
  3. Groin – also known as jock itch, it also appears as scaly, itchy, red spots, usually on the inner thighs.
  4. Beard – also known as tinea barbae, it also appears as scaly, itchy, red spots on the cheeks, chin, and upper neck. The spots can crust over or be filled with pus. Affected areas may result in hair falling out.

Ringworm Diagnosis

There are a few ways to diagnose ringworm.

  1. By physical exam, including a thorough patient history. This is usually sufficient.
  2. By microscopy using a potassium hydroxide (KOH) stain using scrapings from a lesion placed in a drop of KOH and examined under a microscope for the presence of fungal hyphae. It's inexpensive, easy to perform, and highly sensitive.
  3. By ultraviolet light, known as a Wood's lamp. This test is not normally useful; however, it is for two uncommon species – microsporum canis and audouinii.
  4. By culture, using a fungal culture test to confirm a diagnosis if other tests are inconclusive. This test is more specific that the KOH stain, but it takes up to three weeks for results.

The period of communicability – a person can spread ringworm as long as lesions are present, and the presence of a viable fungus persists on contaminated surfaces and materials.

Ringworm Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the location of the ringworm and the severity. Some forms can be treated using over the counter (OTC) medications, while others require a prescription medication, which will be stronger.

Ringworm on the skin, such as athlete's foot and jock itch, can usually be treated with OTC antifungal creams and powders, typically applied for two to four weeks.

Pro Tip: Ringworm on the scalp often needs to be treated with prescription antifungal medications taken orally. Creams, lotions, and powders will not work for this form of ringworm. Healthcare providers should be contacted if this type of infection gets worse or doesn't go away.

Ringworm Prevention Techniques

For athletes involved in close-contact sports, they should:

  • Shower immediately after practice or competition
  • Keep all gear and uniforms clean
  • Not share gear and uniforms with others

For everyone else who wants to avoid getting ringworm, they should:

  • Keep their skin clean and dry
  • Wear shoes that allow air to circulate around the feet
  • Not walk barefoot in locker rooms and public showers
  • Keep finger and toenails short and clean
  • Change their socks and underwear daily
  • Not share clothing, bedding, and towels with someone who has ringworm
  • Wash their hands with soap and water after touching animals, and if you suspect your animal has ringworm, take it to the vet immediately