Ringworm is a type of fungal infection of the skin, which is generally treated by over-the-counter creams. However, this infection is notoriously resistant to all kids of treatments and is known to resurface repeatedly unless you follow steps to prevent it. Using OTC options do not guarantee 100% elimination of ringworm. To effectively treat and eliminate ringworm, you need to understand what it is, how it thrives, and the steps you can take to manage the risk of getting it or spreading it.
WHAT IS RINGWORM?
The technical term for Ringworm is tinea or dermatophytosis. It is a fungal infection of the skin that is often characterized by red, scaly, swollen circular rashes. It is often found on the scalp, face, neck, groin, and feet but can also be found on other parts of the body.
Contrary to what the name suggests, ringworm is not a worm and is not caused by playing with, touching, or even eating worms! Ringworm is incredibly contagious and can thrive on humans and animals as well as be passed from humans to animals and likewise. If you contract ringworm, you’re not special or weird; you’re just one of the 3 million cases of ringworm in the US alone every year. Other common names for ringworm include Jock itch and Athlete’s foot.
FACTS ABOUT RINGWORM
- Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect the skin, producing a red raised rash that may or may not be crusty or scaly.
- Ringworm is typically in the shape of a circle. It is not always a symmetrical circle.
- Ringworm thrives on skin but can also live on surfaces for up to 20 months.
- Ringworm thrives in dark, moist and warm areas of the body, which makes armpits and groin area some of the main places to start a home.
- Ringworm can infect fingernails and toenails. If the nails are infected, they will not develp a ring pattern but instead begin to thicken and turn yellow or brittle.
- Ringworm doesn’t always have a ring. It can appear as a patch of bumpy red skin. Ringworm on the scalp will usually take the appearance of a red pimple.
- Ringworm can spread very easily, especially in public areas where it is warm and damp. This fungi can hang out on floors, towels, benches, clothing, headgear, etc.
- Ringworm is NOT A LIFE-THREATENING DISEASE.
- Ringworm is a fungal infection and NOT A BACTERIA, so antibiotics will not work as a cure. Over-the-counter fungal creams and powders might be effective over several weeks. Sometimes, a prescription might be required.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF RINGWORM
Ringworm can easily be mistaken for other skin rashes and conditions such as Eczema. In most cases, tinea (ringworm) starts off flat, red scaly lesions will form on the border resembling a circle. You’ll generally, but not always experience:
- Raised, scaly and itchy patches that are discolored
- Round lesions with red border resembling a ring
- Blisters and bald patches may develop
- Your nails may begin to thicken, crack and become discolored.
HOW TO PREVENT RINGWORM
Ringworm thrives in warm damp climates. Excessive sweating can may you more susceptible to contracting ringworm from a contaminated person or surface. A wrestling room creates a great environment for ringworm and for that reason, all coaches, wrestlers, and parents must do their part to help eliminate and prevent the ringworm.
- INSPECT YOURSELF. PARENTS INSPECT YOUR KIDS. IF YOU NOTICE A SPOT ON THE SKIN, DON’T ASSUME IT’S NOTHING! SHOW A COACH. DO NOT HIDE IT.
- Maintain cleanliness- To avoid spreading the infection, TWC disinfects the wrestling mats daily. Please do your part to ensure you are washing/disinfecting your wrestling gear. This includes your wrestling shoes, knee pads, headgear, and clothes. Do not wear the same sweatshirt every day to and from practice without washing it. If you are not wearing it during the actual practice.
- Stay cool, stay dry- wear clothing that minimizes sweating. In wrestling, we sometimes add layers to promote sweating. This may occur with older wrestlers looking to make weigh. Be sure to dry yourself off after your workout.
- Avoid sharing equipment such as headgear.
- Shower right away! After practice, go home and take a shower. Standing under the water does not count. Use soap and a washcloth on your entire body.
If you end up with ringworm, it’s not the end of the world. There are many remedies to get you back on the mat. In most cases, doctors will recommend an over-the-counter ointment or cream. In extreme cases, a prescription may be needed. There are also home remedies that have proven effective for many people. When it comes to treating ringworm, you have options. Here are the most common nonprescription cures for the do-it-yourselfers:
- Lamisil or Tinactin 2/day for 4 weeks.
- Essential Oil Options:
- Tea tree oil. 12 drops to 1oz. carrier oil. Apply 2/day. For scalp treatment, 30 drops to 1 oz. carrier oil massaged in daily.
- Neem oil. 5 drops to 1 Tbsp. carrier oil. Apply 3.day
- Lavender oil. Add a couple drops to a bath and soak for at least 20 minutes; or dilute 4-5 drops in a tsp. of olive oil, Apply to the infection 3/day.
- Oregano oil. 4 drops to 1 Tbsp. of sweet almond oil. Apply 3/day and you should see results in less than a week.
- Eucalyptus, Frankincense, garlic, myrrh, manuka, peppermint, and geranium also are particularly effective when dealing with fungi that causes ringworm.
- A blend might be called for if a rash has already developed. A particularly effective blend of Tinea Rub is:
- 3 drops Thyme
- 5 drops Rosemary
- 5 drops Oregano
- 4 drops Myrrh
- 1 oz. sweet Almond Oil
Apply directly to the rash and massage into the skin.
Other effective home remedies include Apple Cider Vinegar and Bleach. When applying ACV, dampen a cotton ball and hold the cotton ball against the lesion for 20 minutes. When applying bleach, dilute 50/50 with water, soak a cotton ball and wring it out. Swab the lesion and let it dry naturally.
Hopefully you find this informative. Ringworm is 100% preventable. Staying clean and following the club rules about disinfecting your equipment, washing your clothes, showering, and only wearing your shoes on the mat will help. TWC disinfects mats daily. Please do your part in preventing ringworm and other conditions.