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What is Ringworm: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatments

An infection caused by a fungus, the ringworm It usually attacks the skin, nails and scalp. It usually causes symptoms such as itching, white spots, cracks between the fingers, nail deformation. The treatment involves, in addition to certain behavioral changes, the application of antifungal remedies, which may be creams or sprays, for example.

The Different Types of Ringworm

They are classified into two large groups: shallow or deep. The former occur when environmental conditions – heat, humidity, low light – favor the growth of microorganisms in our body.

Deep mycosis, on the other hand, affects people with severe immune deficiency, such as AIDS patients or those undergoing cancer treatment. In this scenario, the infection can reach internal organs and even kill.

THE chilblain, also called athlete's foot, is one of the most common mycoses. In this picture, the fungi spread between the fingers, causing water bubbles, itching, peeling and cracking of the skin.

The scalp is a region less affected by ringworm among adults. On the other hand, children suffer a lot from this trouble. Here, the fungi feed on the hair keratin, forming small round plates in which the strands do not grow. In general, the region itches a lot and burns.

It is also worth mentioning the onychomycosis, type that leaves the toenails or fingers deformed, thick and yellowish. She is one of the most treatment-resistant fungal infections.

And there is still the pityriasis versicolor, popularly called beach ringworm or white cloth. It is caused by the fungus. Malassezia furfur, a natural inhabitant of the skin.

The heat and oiliness cause them to multiply and cause spots on the back, neck or face to vary from white to brown. Unlike most versions of the disease, it does not cause itching.

Another microorganism, the Candida Albicans, can alter the mucous membranes and cause a type of ringworm known as thrush. A common infection in babies, it produces painful creamy-looking white plaques. The same microbe attacks the vaginal region, triggering candidiasis.

Causes and Risk Factors of Ringworm

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Heat and humidity
  • Tight shoes
  • Poor hygiene in manicure utensils
  • Spend a lot of time with wet swimwear
  • Walking barefoot on the beach or in the pool
  • Low immunity
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity (fat folds favor the multiplication of fungi on the skin)
  • Stress

How is ringworm transmitted and how to prevent?

Ringworm passes from one person to another by contact. The fungus may be on the floor, in water or on objects such as shoes or towels. The higher the heat or humidity, the greater the proliferation and risk of contagion.

To avoid the problem, follow these guidelines:

  • Always wear slippers when bathing in gyms and clubs
  • Do not share towels, socks and shoes
  • After bathing, dry the body well, especially in the folds (between the fingers, breasts etc)
  • Prefer cotton socks, which absorb sweat better. Synthetic fabrics favor moisture accumulation
  • Avoid shoes that stifle your feet too much or make them sweat, such as sneakers and plastic sandals
  • Ideally, do not wear the same shoes for two days in a row. Store it in a cool place.
  • In the manicure, observe if the instruments are being well sterilized. Or bring your own pliers, sanders and the like so you don't have to share those used by others

Signals and symptons

  • Itching, inflammation or peeling of the skin
  • White or brown spots
  • Redness
  • Crack Between Fingers
  • Deformed and yellowish nails

The injury caused by ringworm, in fact, facilitates the entry of other microorganisms harmful to health. That is, these lesions facilitate a second infection.

The risk is higher in standing mycoses, a region almost always covered by shoes and socks. If left untreated, a simple chilblain can turn into erysipelas, an infectious disease that is characterized by redness and swelling in the injured areas.

The diagnosis

As ringworm can go unnoticed at first, especially when it sets in, it is advisable to examine your body from time to time to catch the problem as soon as possible.

And beware: Stains, itching or peeling are easily mistaken for allergies. The most prudent, therefore, is to seek a dermatologist for any of these signs.

If the in-office examination is not conclusive, the specialist will request a sample analysis of the affected area in the laboratory. This will allow you to safely identify the type of microorganism and prescribe the most effective treatment.

The treatment

To counteract ringworm, the doctor prescribes antifungal remedies in the form of creams, sprays and nail polishes. In general, the medication should be used for six to eight weeks.

Certain fungi, however, are more resistant and require treatment to last up to one year. They especially attack the nails and scalp.

In such cases, often fungicidal lotions and enamels are not enough. Then some tablets come in, which are usually taken daily.

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