Although it is best known as an infection that cats and dogs get, ringworm can also infect humans. At any given time, at least 20% of the population will be affected by ringworms. However, ringworm treatment is available and can quickly put an end to this irritating rash.
What Does Ringworm Look Like?
A type of fungal infection, ringworm causes small lesions to form on the body. When they first appear, ring worm sores are small, round, scaly, and itchy. As they begin to heal, though, they take on a ring-like appearance, hence their name. Although ringworm lesions do heal themselves (starting from the inside and working its way out), the fungus responsible for the infection does spread to other parts of the body. Therefore, treatment of ringworm is necessary.
So just what are ringworms? Also known as tinea, ringworms are fungal infections caused by the dermatophytes fungus. This particular fungus feeds off of keratin, which can be found in your outer layers of skin, hair, and nails. Not surprisingly, the dermotophytes fungus flourishes in areas that are hot and moist and ideally do not receive much light. Ringworm infections can occur pretty much anywhere on the body.
Even if you are not that familiar with ring worms, you may be familiar with some of the other names that this infection goes by. When ringworms appear on the foot, it is referred to as athlete’s foot. In some people, the crotch area can be affected by ringworm. In this instance, the infection is known as "jock itch."
Ringworm is contagious and can be spread between people as well as from domestic animals to humans. Ringworms in children are especially common, particularly among boys. While everyone is at risk of catching ringworms, some are more vulnerable, especially those people who suffer from eczema. It is also possible to be genetically predisposed to ringworms, resulting in chronic infections during your life. Unfortunately, repeat infections are entirely possible with ringworms; being infected once does not provide you with immunity to future infections. There is no cure for ringworms.
Whether you are human or animal, if you have ringworms, you will likely have similar ringworm symptoms. However, symptoms can vary according to just where on the body your ringworms are. When ringworms are on the skin, you will likely develop a flakey rash that feels dry, burns and is itchy. Your skin may also have a scaly appearance.
If you have ringworm of the scalp, though, the initial appearance of the infection is actually a pimple that begins to grow larger while leaving behind scaly patches of skin. Additionally, you will likely experience temporary baldness in the affected areas. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment for ringworm quickly.
If you suspect that you, your child, or your pet may have ringworms but aren’t sure, then find yourself an ultraviolet light. Expose the area in question to the light; if it glows then it is likely ringworms.
Before you begin applying your own ringworm home remedy, it is important to first seek a professional diagnosis from a doctor. Once your infection is confirmed, your treatment for ringworm will vary according to just where on the body the infection is. Infections on the skin can easily be cleared up through the use of a topical anti-fungal cream for a few weeks. Most often, no prescription is necessary for the cream. When ringworm is located on the scalp or nails, then treatment of ringworm generally involves the use of prescribed oral medications.
Ringworm Treatment: The Natural Route
Although there is no ringworm cure that will prevent you from ever getting the infection, there are a number of things you can do to stay healthy and fight the infection as well as prevent ringworms from occurring. First, eating a well-balanced diet with lots of vegetables, especially green and yellow vegetables, will help to keep your skin healthy thanks to the beta-carotene found in vegetables.
If you currently have a ringworm infection, then you may want to consider one home remedy for ringworm that has often proven effective: tea tree oil. To use this botanical antifungal, combine eight to ten drops of the oil with one pint of distilled or spring water. Apply the mixture onto the affected area three times a day until the infection disappears.
Other natural remedies for ringworm include the use of Echinacea, goldenseal, balsam of Peru, and burdock root. However, these herbs can be a powerful ringworm medicine and should only be used after consulting with a trained herbalist, who can recommend the appropriate dosage for you.