Ringworm infection is a fungal condition of the skin. Despite its name, it has nothing at all to do with worms. The fungal infection may appear on the skin, nails, hands, feet, or scalp. The outstanding dermatologists at MetroDerm, P.C. in Atlanta, GA, treat this and other conditions.
Ringworm is caused by microscopic skin fungi that live on the outer layer of the skin. You can get it from direct skin-to-skin contact with infected people or pets. It is also transmitted by sharing hats and personal hair grooming items, and through contact with locker room floors, shower stalls, seats, or clothing used by an infected person. It is more common in children 12 years of age or younger.
Symptoms of a Ringworm Infection
When a ringworm infection appears on the skin, it makes circular, reddish patches with raised borders. Eventually, the patches grow larger, and the centers of the patches turn clear, giving a ring-like appearance. The symptoms on the body usually appear 4-10 days after exposure. Scalp symptoms will appear in 10-14 days. Symptoms of ringworm on other parts of the body vary, for example:
- Scalp: (tinea capitis) Begins with small bumps on the head that grow larger and form a circular pattern. Hair may become brittle and break, forming scaly, hairless patches.
- Hands: (tinea manus) Affects the palms and spaces between the fingers.
- Feet: (tinea pedis) or athlete’s foot — May cause scaling between the toes, or thickening and scaling on the heels or soles.
- Nails: (tinea unguium) Causes fingernails and toenails to become yellow, thick, and crumbly.
- Groin: (tinea cruris) or jock itch — Causes a chafed, reddish, itchy, sometimes painful rash in the groin.
- Body: (tinea corporis) Produces flat, scaly, round spots on the skin.
- Face: (tinea faciei) Produces red, scaly patches on the face.
A MetroDerm, P.C. dermatologist will examine the patient’s skin and ask about their symptoms and medical history. Ringworm is often easily diagnosed by appearance. However, symptoms may be similar to other conditions. A sample of the affected area may be taken for testing.
Topical treatment: This type of treatment is used for ringworm of the skin or body. It includes antifungal creams and powders. It usually takes at least 2 weeks for the ringworm to clear. After ringworm clears, treatment is usually continued for at least 2 more weeks.
- For ringworm involving the body, hands, or feet, non-prescription treatment is highly effective.
- Some medications are more effective than others.
Oral treatment: This type of treatment is used for ringworm of the nails and scalp. Early treatment for scalp ringworm is important to prevent permanent hair loss. A culture or other test may be given to get an accurate diagnosis before beginning this kind of treatment. Prescription pills are given for:
- Scalp ringworm: 4-8 weeks, and occasionally longer
- Nail ringworm: 4-9 months, and occasionally longer
- Avoid contact with any infected person, animal, surface, or object.
- Do not share personal hair grooming items, clothing, or shoes.
- Wear sandals in locker room areas.
- Avoid scratching during infection. This will prevent ringworm from spreading to other areas.
- Wear clothing that minimizes sweating and moisture build-up.
- Wear breathable shoes or sandals.
- Keep moisture-prone areas of the body clean and dry.
Each patient is unique; therefore, results of treatment may vary.
If you suspect that you have contracted a ringworm infection, schedule an appointment at MetroDerm, P.C. for treatment. If you developed the condition from handling a pet, your pet should be treated as well. Check with your pet’s veterinarian for treatment procedures. MetroDerm, P.C. has four locations in the metro Atlanta, GA area: Johnson Ferry Rd. in Atlanta, Hiram, Lilburn, and Alpharetta GA. Our office serve patients from many communities including Cumming, Alpharetta, Macon, Stockbridge, Rome, Augusta, and beyond.