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Many hear the name ringworm and believe it is actually a worm that causes skin rash. In reality though, it is a fungus which infects the skin and in different areas of the human body. Other than the groin and feet, the fungus causes irritation which leaves the skin moist and inflamed in the shape of a ring. In addition, the coloration of the skin in the infected location undergoes a change as well. It becomes reddish brown in color or the outer boundary appears scaly in a reddish tinge while the inner portion remains lighter. Due to all these symptoms, it is but natural for people to wonder how long can ringworm live outside on surfaces, such as furniture.
The infection is caused by fungal spores. These spores get transmitted through direct or indirect contact with other infected people and even through infected pets. The fungal spores can remain in a dormant state in the environment for almost 8 months. This makes personal hygiene extremely important since the fungus would be ready to infect us from the surrounding environment.
Depending on the location of infection, different terms are coined such as ringworm for infection on the scalp and skin, jock itch for infection around the groin, athlete’s feet for infection on the feet.
The first visible symptoms include inflammation along with reddish brown coloration of the skin, bald patches on the scalp, thickening and change in color of nails of fingers or toes or puffiness of the skin with an appearance of a ring shape resembling worm embedded below the surface of the skin.
Personal hygiene is the best way to avoid ring worm. Some precautionary measures include washing hands thoroughly after an outing, wearing proper foot wear while going out, wearing shower shoes in case of using public shower utility and washing hands especially after grooming pets.
Ring worms are highly contagious. Once infected, the individual must pay attention to using separate towel, hair accessories, and bed sheets and must bathe at least once a day. Scratching the infected area should be avoided less the infection spreads to the nails as well.
The medication administered to the infected individual could be anti fungal cream or antifungal pills. The duration of treatment could last up to four weeks during which time precaution must be taken to avoid direct or indirect contact with other family members. A discontinuity in ingestion or application of medicine would make the fungus more resistant to the treatment thereby worsening the condition of the patient and increasing the possibility of infecting other family members.
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- Will Bleach Get Rid Of Ringworm ?
LiveStrong: Facts On Ringworm