Ringworm, or tinea as it is also called, (medical name Tinea corporis), is a type of fungal infection which can affect the skin or the base of the scalp. The infection is most commonly found among people who have close contact with, for example, cattle or other livestock. Dermatophytes, which are the cause of ringworm, are transmitted from animals to humans through direct contact with the fungus.
The infection starts with a few individual light red spots, often on the face or on the arms. The spots change from an even, flat redness to a kind of reddish ring within about a week. The ring and the surrounding skin become rough and bumpy. Ringworm may itch and sting somewhat but, more typically, is not felt at all. Outbreaks of ringworm most often increase in numbers when the dermatophytes are allowed to move, with the aid of contact, and when one scratches the infected area. A number of ringworm rashes in the face may look somewhat dramatic, but are seldom of more difficulty for the host than a cosmetic embarrassment.
The most potent ringworm treatment is Terbinafin, a powerful anti fungal substans that cures ringworm in often a few days.
Animals seldom show symptoms
Livestock, cats and guinea pigs very seldom show symptoms while carrying the ringworm infection. Any outbreaks on animals are hidden by the fur, and the itchiness is seldom intense. It is therefore difficult for livestock owners or pet owners to know if they have an extensive fungal epidemic in their presence. As a rule, ringworm is common among cattle-raisers, especially in the case of older livestock.
Ringworm is contagious
Ringworm is transmitted through direct contact with the infected skin area. Infection most commonly happens through contact with cattle, cats and guinea pigs, all of which are particularly susceptible. Ringworm is thus more common among people such as livestock owners and their circle of associates.
Wrestling organise checks for ringworm
In certain full-contact sports, especially wrestling, ringworm is a well-known problem among the participants. Almost all wrestlers have been infected by ringworm sometime during their wrestling careers. If one person in a club becomes infected, it does not take long before many in the club are affected.
The reason for this is the deep skin contact which is a result of the sport; wrestlers tend to stand, close together, for example, and rub their heads against each other. For example, in wrestling tournaments in Sweden it has for a long time been obligatory to conduct a ringworm check as part of the regular health check, before a final okay is granted. Suspected carriers are not permitted to take part, due to the risk of spreading the infection.
A non-threatening fungal infection
Ringworm can appear unsightly, especially in people who contract heavier facial outbreaks. In some instances where the fungus has spread considerably, treatment with a prescription remedy may be needed for recovery. Ringworm seldom disappears of its own accord and, except in certain singular exceptions, needs to be treated. When ringworm attacks the base of the scalp (Tinea capitis), the infection becomes more difficult to treat, as fungicidal creams have difficulties reaching the source. It may be necessary to shave the hair off, in order to reach the fungus.
Non-prescription salves work excellently
Ringworm can be treated very simply with non-prescription fungicidal salves. Daktacort and especially Lamisil are examples of two remedies which quickly cure ringworm. Apply the cream onto the infected area 2 times per day for 1-2 weeks, and the fungus will normally slowly die out. Naturasil is a third alternative which heals quickly and contains only natural ingredients. Naturasil is mild on the skin and more suitable for children.