There are four common types of ringworm, all caused by a fungus growth. They are ringworm of the feet, or athlete’s foot, ringworm of the scalp, ringworm of the body, and ringworm of the nail.
The most common is what is usually known as athlete’s foot. The most stubborn to cure is ringworm of the nail. These four diseases are more annoying than dangerous. They are serious only when they cause breaks in the skin where other infections can enter. They all need prompt medical treatment.
This is caused by a low form of plant life called a fungus. Some of it is almost always on everyone’s feet. It causes no trouble unless it grows. This fungus like mold on food, grows in warm, moist, poorly ventilated places.
The spaces between the toes make ideal places for a fungus growth, especially on feet that stay damp with perspiration. Two other things that help a fungus growth along are bits of soggy dead skin between the toes and around the nails, and snug shoes that do not let air get to the feet.
When this fungus on the feet grows, it causes athlete’s foot. The symptoms are increased sogginess between the toes, scaling, itching (in most cases), small blisters on the feet. When the disease becomes worse there can be larger blisters and raw places, swelling, and redness.
There are several forms of athlete’s foot. Each one needs its own treatment. Let your doctor decide and tell you what to do.
Athlete’s foot can clear up in a short time if the right treatment is begun early and followed faithfully. Wrong treatment can make athlete’s foot worse. A person can have this disease as often as germs on his feet find enough warmth and moisture for growth.
Keep your feet dry and free from soggy dead skin. When you bathe, don’t forget to soap between your toes; use a nail brush or orange stick under and around your nails. These are the places where dead skin collects.
Rinse and dry your feet thoroughly, rubbing off any dead skin. Dust your feet well with talcum powder, but be sure to dust off any surplus as caked powder between the toes will actually aggravate the condition.
If talcum fails to keep your feet dry all day, use vaseline or zinc ointment instead. Rub a little on your feet, not forgetting your toenails and the spaces between your toes. Wear stockings and shoes that are comfortably roomy. Change socks at least once a day.
Ringworm of the scalp
Ringworm of the scalp is contagious. It is spread in many ways, and usually to children. When a child has ringworm of the scalp, his brush and comb carry the infection. His hat may spread the disease to another child who tries it on; his barber could infect others if he failed to sterilize his shears or clippers. A dog or cat with ringworm can transmit the disease to a person.
Ringworm of the scalp causes a patch of hair to break off near the roots; this leaves a bald, mangy-looking spot on the scalp. If your child gets this infection, take him to a doctor or hospital clinic at once. The condition can be stubborn if allowed to continue. It can be made worse by wrong treatment it can spread to others unless cared for.
Report your child’s condition, and the fact that he is being treated to his school teacher. If one of the other pupils is spreading the disease, the teacher should know about it. If the infection has come from a dog or cat, see that the pet is cured by a veterinarian, before allowing children to play with it.
Ringworm of the body
Ringworm of the body is contagious. Children have it more frequently than adults. They get it by contact with a child who has it, or by handling cats or dogs that have ringworm.
This type of ringworm occurs usually on the face or neck, but can appear on other parts of the body. The patches are generally ring or oval shaped. They are slightly raised, pink, and scaly with a clear space in the center. Usually, one to four rings appear.
Although ringworm of the body is easier to treat than ringworm of the scalp, it needs the attention of a doctor. He will know the best treatment for each case. To prevent another ringworm infection, be sure that any family pets with ringworm are cured by a veterinarian.
Ringworm of the nails
Ringworm of the nail is the most difficult of all to cure. The fungus growth can work entirely through the nail, causing it to become discolored, pitted, grooved, and brittle.
Do not delay a cure by trying to treat this infection yourself. Go to a skin specialist if there is one near you. If not go to a doctor or hospital clinic. Ringworm of the nail is also contagious.