Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus called a dermatophyte. This fungus is a microscopic organism that grows on dead skin tissue, nails, and hair. In English, this condition is called ringworm because the affected skin will blister and scale to form a ring after the infection spreads. Ringworm can occur when you come into contact with a person or animal with ringworm and when you share items such as hairbrushes, hats, combs, towels, and clothing with an infected person. Ringworm is easy to treat if the symptoms are recognized early. Click here if you are looking for ways to treat ringworm.
Part 1 of 3: Recognizing the Symptoms of Ringworm on the Scalp
Step 1. Check if your scalp is scaly
Ringworm can cause small, scaly patches to appear on the scalp. These patches can be itchy and painful.
Scaly skin can also be an indication that you have dandruff, not ringworm. If these symptoms appear, check your scalp with a dermatologist to determine whether you have a ringworm infection or not
Step 2. Watch if your hair falls out
Hair loss caused by ringworm usually starts in small circles the size of a coin. As the disease progresses, the part of the hair that falls out will continue to grow in size and may form a ring. That is why, in English this condition is called " ringworm ".
Your hair can break, leaving short hair that looks like tiny black dots. Parts of the scalp that are bald may become scaly and swollen
Step 3. Look for small red sores on the scalp
As ringworm of the scalp develops, pus-filled sores appear on the scalp, which are called kerions. The scalp will also start to 'crust', which looks like very dry, flaky skin that you can peel off. These are all signs that the infection has gotten worse and requires immediate medical care.
- If the wound on your scalp stings and oozes fluid, treat the wound immediately so it doesn't cause permanent scars and make your hair fall out.
- If you have kerion, you may also experience swollen lymph nodes and a fever. Your body will try to fight ringworm by raising your body temperature, which will cause a fever. The lymph nodes will also swell as they try to remove the infection from the blood.
Part 2 of 3: Recognizing the Symptoms of Ringworm on the Body and Feet
Step 1. Notice if the skin on your face, neck, or hands is blistered and red
Ringworm of the body can occur on the neck, face, and hands, which are often red and ring-shaped.
- If ringworm appears on your face and neck, your skin may feel itchy and swollen, which will eventually dry out and become crusty. However, the symptoms may not be ring-shaped. If ringworm appears on your beard, you may lose some of your beard.
- Ringworm that occurs on the hands can make the skin on the palms and fingers appear thicker or raised. It can strike one-handed, or two-handed at once. One of your hands may appear normal, but the other hand may appear thicker or embossed.
- In severe cases, red blisters on your body can spread, grow larger and coalesce. These blisters are slightly raised to the touch and are very itchy. Purulent sores may also appear around the ringworm.
Step 2. Check if there is ringworm in the groin
Ringworm in the groin, also known as Jock Itch, is a type of ringworm on the body that usually appears around the buttocks and inner thighs. Look for red or brown sores in the area, even if they are not ring-shaped. The sores that appear may also contain pus.
Large, red, itchy patches may also appear on the inner thighs and buttocks. However, ringworm usually does not appear in the pubic area
Step 3. Look for a red, scaly rash between the toes
A rash will appear between the toes when a person has ringworm of the feet which is also known as Athlete's Foot. You'll likely also experience an itching that doesn't seem to go away. As the ringworm progresses, you may begin to feel a burning or stinging sensation in your feet and toes.
- Also check the soles of the feet and the sides of the feet for flaky skin that resembles scales. If the ringworm has progressed to this area, you should see a doctor immediately.
- Ringworm can also attack the nails, which is also known as a fungal nail infection. Your nails can turn white, black, yellow, or green. The nails will fall off easily and become brittle, or the skin around the nails will hurt.
Part 3 of 3: Identifying Risk Factors
Step 1. Practice good fitness and maintain cleanliness in the locker room
Like other fungal infections, ringworm thrives in moist environments. Avoid ringworm attacks by wearing shower shoes in the locker room and washing hands before and after exercise. Also wipe fitness equipment, including mats, before and after use to prevent infection from spreading.
- When you're done training, change into your workout clothes immediately so you don't continue to wear wet clothes that allow mold to grow and multiply. You should also not share towels with other people while practicing and wash towels and all clothing after use.
- You must practice good hygiene of changing rooms and swimming pools when using public swimming pools. Always wear shoes when in the bathroom and shower before and after you enter the pool.
Step 2. Don't share combs, hairbrushes, towels, clothes, or other body care items
Prevent the spread of ringworm by not lending body care items, especially when your school or office is suffering from a ringworm outbreak. Keep combs, hairbrushes, and towels clean to prevent various types of fungi such as ringworm from multiplying.
Step 3. Have your pet checked for ringworm
If your pet has hair or fur, it may be bald in some parts of its body, and have scaly skin and red blisters. Take it to the vet to check if the animal has ringworm or not, as infected animals can transmit ringworm to your body.