An outlook of ringworm in adults, causes, stages, contagious, medicine, home treatment, treatment
Ringworm is a skin infection that is caused by fungi which usually lives on dead tissues of your skin, hair as well as the nails. You can get ringworm on any of the mentioned places including your scalp. When you get on your toes, it is referred to as athletes foot, on groin is referred to as jock itch.
The usual sign of ringworm is the red and scaly patch which is very itchy. Over some period of time, it then turns into many rings whose outside might be slightly bumpy.
When the ringworm in adults is on scalp, it tends to start out as a small sore which can also be flaky making the skin to be tender and sore on touch. Your hair might also start falling out in patches.
How Do you get Ringworm
This infection is highly contagious. A person can be infected through the below ways;
- From one individual to another: the infection can spread through skin to skin contact
- From pets: the infection may easily be transferred to your skin when you are grooming your pets. It is very common in cows.
- Through touching objects: the infection can linger on several objects, clothes, combs as well as brushes
- From soil: if you are standing barefoot in soil which is infected with the fungus which causes ringworm, then you can be infected
How to tell if you have the infection
You are advised to consult your doctor so as to be sure that such an infection is indeed ringworm and not any other symptom related infection as there are several other skin conditions which appears similar in symptoms.
The doctor can scrape some amount of skin from the itchy skin part, scaly areas and observe them under the microscope.
This stages vary from one individual to another and also from one part of the body to another such that a ringworm on scalp will appear different from the one on the arm. The infection gets worse with time and is beneficial to understand the symptoms early so that the situation does not deteriorate.
The infection spreads through a few stages as indicated below;
The first stage of a ringworm infection is a minor burning feeling which is usually accompanied with itching and inflammation of the region. The infected part of the body will become red, inflamed and flaky, tending to peel off on its own.
The earlier inflamed skin area then develops a circular rash which tends to raise higher than the rest of the skin. This is said to be a sure sign of a ringworm infection on skin. Infected areas of skin shows small bumps which are very itchy.
The itchy and dry skin is very contagious. It can also be very uncomfortable and very annoying if left untreated. Sharing of personal belongings at this stage can easily lead to an outbreak.
Scratching of the ringworm is not the best thing that can be done no matter how itchy it becomes. Scratching makes the wound worse by spreading the infection to other parts of the body. The ineftion takes about 14 days to develop in scalp after a person has come into contact with the fungus which causes it and somewhere around 6 to 10 days on the skin elsewhere on the body.
This infection is highly contagious, meaning it can be transferred from one person to another through a direct contact or indeirect contact like through clothing or any other contaminated object. It is also acquired in swimming pools and hot tubs by indirect contact.
People can also acquire this indfection from animals such as the dogs.
Ringworm is contagious as long as the lessions are present. It only stops being contagious after 4 days of treatment.
Ringworm is very difficult to contain and can live for a long period in public places such as the locker rooms including other personal hygiene like brushes and combs.
The infection remains contagious as longs as it is not treated. If the ringworm remains untreated then it can several months so as to clear up on its own. If a person is not treated then it implies that all those around the person are at a risk of being infected.
Even before start of symptoms, the ringworm can still be contagious especially during incubation. Signs of symptoms includes thickening as wel as yeloowing of the nails which also includes the characteristic circular mark on skin. People who have weakened immune system can also develop abscesses.
After 48 hours of treatment, the infection stops being contagious and the symptoms gradually subside. You are advised to follow through treatment well as there might be possibility of reccurence, implying that the ringworm will be contagious again.
Ringworm is diagnosed through examining of the skin scrapings under microscope. Some other times, it is diagnosed through a fungal culture of the affected skin area. There are times when you are infected with the ringworm but you don’t have any symptoms.
Family members are therefore advised to seek medical treatment as well even if they also don’t manifest any symptoms as they have already been infected by the ringworm.
It is very difficult to treat the ringworm if the infection has already started to spread to other parts of the skin and is severe.
If the infection is on your skin – like in the case of athlete’s foot – your doctor will recommend an OTC antifungal cream or powder. Some of the popular medicines for ringworm in adults include:
- Clotrimazole (Mycelex)
- Miconazole (Aloe Vesta Antifungal, Baza Antifungal, Critic Aid Clear, Cruex Prescription Strength, Desenex, Fungoid Tincture, Micatin, Micro-Guard, Mitrazol, Remedy Antifungal, Secura Antifungal)
In most cases, you’ll use the medicines on your skin for a period of about 4 weeks so as to make sure that you get rid of the fungus that leads to ringworm. It’ll also lowers your chances of it coming back.
Ringworm Home Treatment
- Soap and water
When experience ringworm, you are required to keep the area very clean. This assists in prevention of further spread of rash and assists to keep the affected area under control.
Wash the affected skin area using pure water and antibacterial soap daily before use of any other home remedies on top. Dry the area carefully after showering, as the moisture makes it easier for fungus to spread.
Pine and coal-tar soap have been found to be some of the older home remedies which can be an option, but they are also very irritating to the sensitive skin.
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains strong antifungal properties, so it might assist in treatment of the ringworm when used topically to the affected skin area. To use it, soak a cotton ball in the undiluted apple cider vinegar and then brush the cotton ball over skin. Do this process for about 3 times per day.
- Tea tree oil
Native Australians used tea tree oil as an antifungal as well as antibacterial, and it’s also used today for similar purposes. It might be very effective in treatment of the ringworm in adults.
Apply tea tree oil directly to the affected skin area for about 3 times per day using a cotton swab. If you are experiencing sensitive skin, it might then be helpful to dilute the tea tree oil in a carrier oil such as coconut oil, which contains its own antifungal benefits.
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains both microbial as well as antifungal properties which assists in treatment of the ringworm infections. It’s an effective topical home remedy that is used for ringworm and other infections with other fungi, such as candida. Because it’s very easy to apply to scalp and an effective hair conditioner, coconut oil is very ideal in treatment of the scalp ringworm.
To use it, warm the oil either in microwave or in your hand, then apply it directly to the affected skin area. It absorb into skin very quickly. Apply it at least 3 times daily.
Turmeric contains various health benefits, which includes antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also an effective antifungal which inhibits growth.
Combine fresh-ground turmeric, or turmeric spice, using a small amount of water, mix until it is a paste. Apply it to the affected skin area and leave it on until it completely dries. You may also drink turmeric water daily to get internal benefits.
- Aloe vera
Aloe vera has for a long period of time been used as a natural remedy for both bacterial as well as fungal infections, including ringworm. Aloe vera treats the ringworm and can soothe symptoms of itchiness, inflammation, as well as discomfort. You might also find ointments with the aloe vera or use the aloe vera gel directly to the affected area. Do this at least 3 times daily.
- Oregano oil
Oregano essential oil is a powerful antifungal than other commercial products which are available, and inhibits and treats fungal skin infections, which includes athlete’s foot and ringworm in adults.
Oregano oil is an extract which can be purchased online. Mix some drops with a carrier oil such as olive, and apply it to the affected skin area 3 times per day.
- Lemongrass oil or tea
Lemongrass oil extract, and to a lesser extent lemongrass tea, both contain antifungal properties which are helpful in treatment of the fungal skin infections such as ringworm.
To use the lemongrass oil, mix some drops of the lemongrass oil with a carrier oil. Apply it directly to the affected skin at least twice per day. You can also apply a brewed tea bag directly to ringworm.
Home remedies cannot completely cure ringworm in adults. It is necessary to take antifungal medications. Ringworm is treated topically (using external applications) or systemically (for example, use of the oral medications):
When fungus affects the skin, most of the antifungal creams clears the condition in about 2 weeks.
Many of the antifungal creams are available as over-the-counter preparations. It is necessary to use topical medications for a period of at least 2 weeks.
More recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the antifungal medication luliconazole, the first topical azole antifungal agent with a one-week once-daily treatment regimen for management of ringworm in adults aged 18 years or older.
- Ringworm: https://www.medicinenet.com/ringworm/article.htm#ringworm_facts
- Home Remedies for Ringworm: https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-ringworm
- What’s the Treatment for Ringworm: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/what-is-the-treatment-for-ringworm
- Ringworm Overview: https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/medical/ringworm3.htm
- How Long is Ringworm Contagious: https://www.healthmagaz.com/skin-problems/ringworm/long-ringworm-contagious/
- How long is ringworm contagious: https://www.belmarrahealth.com/how-long-is-ringworm-contagious/
- Is Ringworm Contagious: https://www.medicinenet.com/is_ringworm_contagious/article.htm#what_is_ringworm
- Ringworm Stages – Top 3 Stages of Ringworm: http://www.ringwormskin.com/ringworm-stages/