Contrary to popular belief, ringworm has the least bit to do with an actual worm. Is the name a little misleading? Yes. But it is reassuring, nonetheless, to know that a small worm isn’t running through your child’s body.
What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a very common, treatable fungal disease involving the skin in children. All fungi prefer to live in warm, moist environments: a fungal sauna, if you’d like to think of it that way. As a result, they tend to grow on parts of our body that are more moist and warm, such as around hairs and the topmost layer of the skin. The fungi multiply and feed on the protein that makes up our skin, nails, and hair resulting in round, scaly patches. Ringworm is highly contagious and nearly 90% of all cats are carrying the fungi that cause ringworm!
How Does It Spread?
- Human – When an infected individual aggravates his or her rash by itching, the fungus can get stuck under his or her fingernails and get transferred to someone else.
- Animal – Ringworm is most often transmitted through animals like dogs, cats, calves, hamsters and guinea pigs.
- Object – Towels, clothing or sheets touched by an infected person can spread ringworm upon contact.
- Soil – Infection could result from prolonged exposure to soil infested with ringworm-causing fungi.
Considering that children spend hours a day in a small room with other children, it’s difficult to prevent them from contracting such a highly contagious infection such as ringworm. But some things that you might consider telling your child are to wash his or her hands throughout the day and avoid sharing supplies. The best thing to do is to maintain good hygiene.
- Use antifungal creams and shampoos to kill fungi and bacteria on the scalp
- Wash sheets regularly to kill the fungi faster
- Make sure to frequently change underwear and socks
- Wear loose clothing to speed up the healing process
If you have consistently followed a treatment for two weeks and have seen no result, see a doctor to prevent the spread of the infection.
Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington Dermatologist Dr. David Hensley is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. Dr. Hensley focuses his practice on technologically advanced skin care treatments. Dr. Hensley is Medical Director of Metroplex Dermatology, a practice devoted to providing patients with the highest standard of skin care available. Dr. Hensley has been named two years in a row 2016 | 2017 Top10MD an honor– only 1-in-3 doctors succeed with this recognition in the United States. Contact Dr. Hensley today by or call (817)704-4777.