Ringworm Infection

Also called dermatophytosis. This infection is not due to any worm. It is basically a fungal infection.

When a fungus affects the skin and gives discomforting symptoms, we call it a ringworm infestation.

The appearance is very typical. There are red colored circular patches, which grow in size with time, as if a bigger ring gets added up to the existing patch.

Why Do You Get Ringworm?

Fungal spores are present everywhere, all over your nearby environment. When the weather is warm, and you sweat a lot, moist skin becomes a good surface for the growth of the fungus.

If the skin is not cleaned repeatedly, fungal infection may get established and we get ringworm infection.

Symptoms

  • Red colored patches which are ring shaped
  • Very itchy and moist
  • Highly contagious, that is, spread when you touch them.
  • Localized hair loss over the affected part
  • The commonly affected area are the ones that are moist, like the scalp, armpits or the groin.
  • May affect any age group, however, mostly children.

How Does Ring Worm Infection Spread?

The infection is very contagious and spreads quickly from one person to another by touching.

It may even spread by use of infected combs, bed linens, clothes, towels etc.

Diagnosis

If you have a skin rash that looks red and is very itchy, it may be ringworm.

Classically, the patch is red, ring shaped and itch. It spread in a circular fashion, to become a become circle with time.

The center of the circle clears up and the margins are red and inflamed.

Diagnosis is usually made by examining the rash under a special ultra voilet light. Fungal threads glow under this light. They show as fluorescent strains.

To confirm the diagnosis, scrapings are taken from the skin and are directly observed under the microscope to see the presence of the fungus.

Treatment

  • Keep the area clean  and dry. Wash is twice daily or more with plain water, as per your requirement and amount of sweating there. The idea is to keep the area clean and free of sweat.
  • Dry the region with clean towel. Wear loose cotton garments. Cotton absorbs excess moisture, which is a major factor when you get ringworm.
  • Loose clothing is beneficial, as it assures ventilation.
  • The red itchy patches are treated by applying anti fungal creams, lotions or shampoos, depending upon the area involved.
  • Among the commonly used medications, cotrimazole, nystatin and miconazole available in the market.

Prevention

  • Keep a good body hygiene. Take a bath daily.
  • If you sweat a lot or may be after exercise, bathe yourself again to wash off excess sweat.
  • Wear loose cotton garments only. This would assure dryness all the day long.
  • Avoid sharing of combs, brushes, soaps, hats or even linen. Fungus spreads through all these articles.
  • Ringworm also spreads through animals. It’s better to avoid contact with a cat or dog who looks itchy or has bald patches over his coat.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Red Itchy Round Patches Over Skin

  1. Gladys

    My big red circle patches of skin don’t disappear after meds, instead they turn into dark purple spots. What could it be?

    Reply
    1. Gladys

      I get itchy circular spots on my body. I seem to start during the night and wake up swollen on my face (eyes lips). Scratching doesn’t help. Whatever it is goes through my body within a week. Then those red itchy circular patches turn dark purplish/black spots remain. Finally it repeats itself every month towards the end of the month. HELP

      Reply