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Ringworms

Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus. Its name is very contrary - ringworm is not caused by a worm but by parasitic fungus. Ringworm is also known as "Tinea", Tinea is the Latin name for a growing worm.
Ringworm can affect skin on your body (tinea corporis), scalp (tinea capitis), groin area (tinea cruris, also called jock itch), or feet (tinea pedis, also called athlete's foot).

Cause-
Ringworm is a common skin disorder, especially among children, but it may affect people of all ages. The agents are called the dermatophytes, which means skin fungi. They rarely invade deeper into the body and cannot live on mucous membranes, such as those in the mouth or vagina.
  • Ringworm spreads from person to person by touch. When someone with ringworm touches or scratches the rash, the fungus sticks to the fingers or gets under the fingernails. The fungus is then spread when that person touches someone else.
  • Ringworm of the scalp can also spread if combs and hairbrushes are shared.
  • These infections are caused by several types of mold-like fungi called dermatophytes that live on the dead tissues of the skin, hair, and nails.
Types-
1.Tinea corporis (Body ringworm) can affect any part of the body except the scalp, feet, and facial area where a man's beard grows. The well-defined, flaky sores can be dry and scaly or moist and crusty.
2.Tinea capitis (Scalp ringworm) is most common in children. It causes scaly, swollen blisters or a rash that looks like black dots. Sometimes inflamed and filled with pus, scalp ringworm lesions can cause crusting, flaking, and round bald patches. Most common in black children, scalp ringworm can cause scarring and permanent hair loss.
3.Tinea cruris or jock itch (Ringworm of the groin) produces raised red sores with well-marked edges. It can spread to the buttocks, inner thighs, and external genitals.
4.Tinea unguium (Ringworm of the nails) generally starts at the tip of one or more toenails, which gradually thicken and discolor. The nail may deteriorate or pull away from the nail bed. Fingernail infection is far less common.
Symptoms-
The symptoms of ringworm include:
  • Itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze. The patches often have sharply-defined edges. They are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center. This may create the appearance of a ring. Your skin may also appear unusually dark or light.
  • When your scalp or beard is infected, you will have bald patches.
  • If nails are infected, they become discolored, thick, and even crumble.
Diagnosis-
Ringworm is diagnosed primarily based on the appearance of the skin.
  • A KOH test is used to diagnose fungal infections of the skin or nails. The skin or nail is scraped with a scalpel or glass slide causing dead skin cells to fall off onto a glass slide. A few drops of Potassium hydroxide (KOH) are added to the slide and the slide is heated for a short time. The KOH dissolves the material binding the skin cells together releasing the fungus.
  • Diagnosis can be made by scraping the affected area of skin and examining the cells under a microscope.
  • Fungus may appear florescent when your skin is examined with a blue light in a dark room.
  • Skin scrapings for microscopic examination and a culture of the affected skin can establish the diagnosis of tinea or rule it out.
Treatment-
After diagnosing, medication will help in treating this condition along with the preventive measures that has to be taken.

Complication-
  • Spread of ringworm to other areas
  • Bacterial skin infections
  • Contact dermatitis or other skin disorders
  • Side effects from medications
Prevention-
  • Don't share clothing, sports gear, towels, or sheets. If exposure to ringworm occurs, then, wash clothes in hot water with special anti-fungus soap.
  • Wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms and public bathing areas.
  • Shower and shampoo well after any sport that includes skin-to-skin contact.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Change socks and underwear at least once a day.
  • Keep the skin clean and dry.
  • If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your underwear so that fungi do not spread from your feet to your groin.
  • Take the pet to the vet if it has patches of missing hair, which could be a sign of a fungal infection.
Role of homoeopathy-
Homoeopathic medicines strengthen the natural healing processes of the patient and helps the body to fight against the internal dyscrasia. The medicine is selected on the basis of holistic approach, which helps to cure the problem.

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