Ringworm is a common fungal infection and doesn’t have anything at all to do with an actual worm. In fact, this type of infection was originally termed “ringworm” because of the way it forms circular rashes (rings) with redness and itchiness.
Our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team provides some more information on ringworm below, so keep reading!
What Causes Ringworm?
Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that can be caused by three different types of fungi: Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton. These fungi can live for an extended period as spores in soil, and both humans and animals can contract ringworm after direct contact with this soil; however, contracting ringworm in this way is quite rare.
Ringworm is contagious, and is most commonly spread by contact with other objects. We’ve listed the most common ways it can be spread below.
Common Ways Ringworm Can Spread
- Human to human. Ringworm often spreads by direct, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
- Animal to human. You can contract ringworm by touching an animal with ringworm. Ringworm can spread while petting or grooming dogs or cats.
- Object to human. It’s possible for ringworm to spread by contact with objects or surfaces that an infected person or animal has recently touched or rubbed against, such as clothing, towels, bedding and linens, combs and brushes.
- Soil to human. In rare cases, ringworm can be spread to humans by contact with infected soil. Infection would most likely occur only from prolonged contact with highly infected soil.
Can You Treat Ringworm?
Yes, you can! While at-home remedies are helpful, they can’t fully treat ringworm. The most effective treatments of this fungal infection are antifungal medications.
Ringworm can be treated topically (with external applications) or systemically (for example, with oral medications). It is usually necessary to use topical, OTC medications for at least two weeks. Talk with your doctor if you have a rash that doesn’t begin to improve within two weeks of using an OTC anti-fungal product, as you may need prescription medication.
Complementary Home Remedies
- Soap and water. When you have ringworm, you need to keep the area as clean as possible. This helps prevent the further spread of the rash and helps keep the affected area under control.
- Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has strong anti-fungal properties, so it can help treat ringworm when applied topically to the affected area. To do this, soak a cotton ball with ACV and rub it on the affected area three times per day.
- Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is about as effective as ACV, as it also has strong anti-fungal properties. Apply tea tree oil directly to the affected area two or three times per day with a cotton ball or swab.
Have further questions about ringworm? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team today!