Ringworm, otherwise known as tinea*Â¹ is a skin infection that is caused by a fungus*Â², and not by a worm, as people once thought. It is called ring worm because it is usually circular or round like a ring; however, it sometimes shows up as an irregular shape and you will often notice that it comes in several patches on different areas of the body. It looks scaly or crusty on the skin and appears red on the fairer skin. It is a worrisome infection that parents would rather not have to deal with. Unfortunately, it shows up from time to time on school age children, causing stress, embarrassment and especially discomfort as it causes severe itching.
Ring worm is contagious; that means it is transmitted or spread from person to person, animal to person or objects to person. In other words, it is catching. For example, if a child with ringworm touches the skin of another child that child could become infected. Sometimes children play in small muddles of dirty water and end up with ringworm; they may become infected because they share towels, combs, brushes, or clothing with someone who is infected. Even infected pets my transmit ringworm to people.
Doctors are able to look at the skin and usually will identify ringworm. They may also scrape a little skin and examine it under the microscope. That way they know for sure that it is ringworm. Anti-fungal treatments include topical medications such as lotions and creams, for example, Lotrimin, Lamisil, and Nizoral. Sometimes the infection needs more than topical treatment so the doctor orders oral medication, for example, Diflucan. There are many over the counter topical treatment for ringworm if it is just a small patch; ask the pharmacist for assistance. If it is taking more than two weeks to look better then go to the doctor, or, if youâ€™re unsure of what to do seek medical help immediately.
Encourage the children to wash their hands, not to touch strange animals, and not to use other people/s personal items. Also, if they notice any strange skin problem on someone, avoid coming in contact with their skin. Teach them to immediately tell you any strange skin problem that they see on their bodies.
Tinea*Â¹ – tinea means ring worm
Fungus*Â² – is a single celled or multi-celled organism; not a plant or an animal examples of fungus would be molds and yeast. Fungus (more than one is called fungi) lives by breaking down and absorbing the substance in which they grow.