RINGWORM: CAUSES, TYPES, SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT:- Ringworm, also caused as Tinea or Dermatophytosis is a fungal infection of the skin. It is common in tropical countries with high humidity.
Poor hygienic conditions is usually the culprit to blame. Perspiration might accumulate on the folds of skin, causing fungus to grow.
CAUSES OF RINGWORM (TINEA):
The fungus responsible for the tinea infection is the Dermatophytes. The further 3 subtypes of this fungus which cause the typical ‘ring’ type rash are Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton. The fungus which is highly contagious can be transmitted by:
- Direct human to human contact – infected people transmitting the infection by direct touch
- Animal to human contact (zoonotic transmission) – certain types of dermatophytes which are transmitted from animals to humans are Microsporum canis, T. verrucosum and T. equinum
- Indirect transmission through fomites – The use of communal showers and swimming baths and the sharing of towels or sportswear aid indirect fomite transmission.
TYPES OF RINGWORM (TINEA):
Depending on the site where infection might occur, tinea is classified into the following :
- Tinea corporis
- Tinea cruris
- Tinea pedis
- Tinea capitis
- Tinea manuum
- Tinea unguium
- Tinea incognito
IDENTIFYING SYMPTOMS OF RINGWORM (TINEA) INFECTION :
Ringworm commonly presents as a typical ring-like rash. It is a well-demarcated (clearly defined), raised papular with central clearing. Other symptoms such as severe itching and redness of the skin is also seen.
Depending on the site of infection, the symptoms may somewhat vary :
- Tinea corporis: This occurs throughout the body and has well-demarcated raised scaly patches. They are usually quite itchy. They usually occur asymmetrically throughout the body.
- Tinea cruris: Ringworm of the groin is common among young men. It usually occurs in and around the groin, buttocks and thigh region. There is severe itching along with scaly red patches.
- Tinea pedis (Athlete’s foot). It commonly occurs in the webs of feet and soles. It usually occurs in those people who wear soiled socks for very long periods and people who walk barefoot like in communal bathrooms. The lesions present as white, macerated and extremely itchy.
- Tines capitis: Scalp ringworm is very common in children and is easily spread by sharing combs. Lesions may be mild scaly causing no hair loss (appearing like dandruff), or more severe circular scaly patches with patchy hair loss and broken hair.
- Tinea unguium: Nailbed ringworm does not cause pain or itching and hence, is ignored. The nails become white or yellow and thickened. Crumbly white material accumulates under the nail plate. With advancing disease, the nail may become destroyed and fall off.
- Tinea manuum: Ringworm of one or both of the palms is usually less common. It presents with redness and scaling of the palms with thickening of the skin. Itching may or may not be present.
- Tinea incognito: This is an extensive type of atypical ringworm which occurs after extensive use of topical steroids. The corticosteroids suppress the protective inflammatory response of the skin to the ringworm fungus, allowing it to spread and altering its appearance.
DIAGNOSIS OF A RINGWORM INFECTION :
A diagnosis of ringworm is clinically established. But it has to be distinguished with other skin ailments which may have similar presentations like psoriasis or eczema.
Your doctor will usually advise the following tests to confirm that you have ringworm :
- Microscopy of skin scrapings, hair or nail clippings treated with 20 per cent potassium hydroxide for 20 minutes and identification of the fungus.
- Skin biopsy by taking a sample of the skin or discharge from the vesicles and sending it to a lab to identify the fungus
- Fungal culture of the skin specimen to determine the exact subtype of fungus responsible.
TREATMENT OF RINGWORM :
Depending on the severity and location of the infection, antifungal molecules such as clotrimazole, terbinafine, itraconazole, miconazole, amorolfine may be prescribed in the form of oral tablets or topical creams . Widespread tinea such as tinea corporis or tinea capitis requires oral antifungal treatment combining 2 or 3 molecules. Along with this lifestyle changes and home treatments may help with ringworm.
MANAGEMENT OF RINGWORM INFECTION WITH HOMEOPATHY :
You can count on homeopathy for many illnesses and fungal infections are one of them. Not only is homeopathy effective against ringworm, but it also works for many other fungal infections of the skin like pityriasis Versicolor, candidiasis etc.
There are many side effects associated with topical antifungal creams. Also, misuse and overuse of topical antifungals or steroids cause a very bad flare-up of the disease once it is stopped. Many patients also complain of skin discolouration following the use of topical creams.
All of this can be prevented; yes the HOMEOPATHIC WAY! Free from any side effects, homeopathy has shown to be effective for skin conditions and patients soon recover, without any relapses. Click here to know more about how Homeopathy can help your skin condition gently and effectively so that you never have to suffer from it again.
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Remember that we are in this together and we will get through it together! Be home and stay safe!
Author- Dr. Tasneem .H. Soni
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