Ringworm, also known as dermatophytosis or tinea, is a fungal infection of the skin. The name “ringworm” is a misnomer, since the infection is caused by a fungus, not a worm. The name is derived from the early belief that the infection was due to a worm, which it is not.
Ringworm infection can affect both humans and animals. The infection initially presents with red patches on affected areas of the skin and later spreads to other parts of the body. The infection may affect the skin of the scalp, feet, groin, beard, or other areas.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms vary depending on where you’re infected. With a skin infection, you may experience the following:
- red, itchy, scaly, or raised patches
- patches that develop blisters or begin to ooze
- patches that may be redder on the outside edges or resemble a ring
- patches with edges that are defined and raised
If you’re experiencing dermatophytosis in your nails, they may become thicker or discolored, or they may begin to crack. If the scalp is affected, the hair around it may break or fall off, and bald patches may develop.
Types of ringworm
Ringworm can go by different names depending on the part of the body affected.
- Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) often starts as small sores that develop into itchy, scaly bald patches. It is most common among children.
- Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) often appears as patches with the characteristic round “ring” shape.
- Jock itch (tinea cruris) refers to ringworm infection of the skin around the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. It is most common in men and adolescent boys.
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is the common name for ringworm infection of the foot. It is frequently seen in people who go barefoot in public places where the infection can spread, such as locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools.
Is it contagious ?
Any one can develop ringworm.Ringworm occurs in people of all ages, but it is particularly common in children. It occurs most often in warm, moist climates. Ringworm is a contagious disease and can be passed from person to person by contact with infected skin areas or by sharing combs and brushes, other personal care items, or clothing. It is also possible to become infected with ringworm after coming in contact with locker room or pool surfaces. The infection can also affect dogs and cats, and pets may transmit the infection to humans. It is common to have several areas of ringworm at once in different body areas.
In Ayurveda this is called Dadru. The infection spreads peripherally and heals centrally with the result that the earlier region becomes a ring with scaly or vesicular border and a central zone or normal or discovered skin.
The patient should take regular bath and wear clean and dry clothes. Bath with hot water boiled with neem leaves is extremely useful in this condition. Applying a paste of neem leaves over the affected areas of the skin is desirable. In chronic patients, application of paradadi malham or Dadrukna lepa proves very useful. A drug called Edagaja is commonly used for the treatment. The seeds of this plant are taken in powder form and applied over the affected area in the form of a paste. Giving the patient sudhagandhaka·
internally proves very useful. It should be given in a dose of three grains, twice daily, mixed with honey. These medicines both internally and externally should be continued for some time, even after the patch is cured. There is every likelihood of the recurrence of this disease. Therefore, medicines should be continued for about 7 days after the patches have disappeared.
Sour things, including curd and pickles, should be avoided.
The patient should wear clean clothes and take daily bath with water boiled with neem leaves.