While it would sound like it is caused by worms because of its name, worms have nothing to do with ringworm. Fungal infection is what causes this skin condition also known as dermatophytosis or tinea and only the right ringworm treatment can help in getting rid of it. Ringworm is contagious, affecting humans and your favorite household pets like dogs and cats and other animals. An infected pet can pass it on to humans and vice versa. One may also get it by being in contact with contaminated things. If you suspect someone or a pet to have ringworm (it often looks like this or this), a doctor visit is necessary to determine if it is in fact ringworm or something else. The disease may not immediately become visible when one has it but when a person or an animal has been exposed to it, the risk is there because ringworm spores don’t easily die and can continue to be a threat for a long period.
How to Prevent Ringworm
While ringworm treatment is available, it is best to avoid contracting it by doing the following:
- Make sure to meticulously wash your hands with soap and water after pet handling.
- Use disinfectant when washing your pet’s things like dishes, toys, bedding and grooming paraphernalia.
- Throw away items that may be contaminated but cannot be disinfected.
- Regularly clean your surroundings and this includes regular vacuuming of your floor to take out animal hairs where ringworm spores may be staying.
- Because you may also get it from other people, avoid sharing of personal items including clothing.
- When using public showers such as those in gyms, wear slippers to avoid contact with dermatophytes, the fungi that can cause an infection.
Some people may not immediately seek ringworm treatment due to lack of understanding of what really causes the disease and how it can be avoided. Again, worms don’t cause it and it is named as such because it is characterized by red ring-like outline that form in various places on the skin, even in armpits, on the buttocks, in the groin and around the eyes. It does not only appear on the skin, but also on fingernails and toenails, making them thick and brittle and yellow in color. Ringworm can also cause discoloration of the skin.
Caused by fungus and not bacteria, antibiotics won’t work on ringworms, only antifungal medications. It may take weeks for the treatment prescribed by the doctor whether for humans or for pets to work and eliminate the infection.
Effective Ringworm Treatment
The infection is best treated as early as possible. Because getting re-infected is common, it is best to ensure proper and complete treatment is done to ensure that the cause is killed absolutely.
Treatment for Humans
At the earliest signs of ringworm, you could use non-prescription medicines like anti-ringworm creams or ointments. The typical dosage is a twice daily application following the recommended period. There should be positive results observed after a few days of topical preparation use. Terbanafine, Miconazole, Undecylenic Acid and Tolnafate are some of the known over-the-counter ringworm skin applications. Doctors may also prescribe oral medications if necessary.
Treatment for Pets
Ringworm treatment for your dogs or cats includes the same drugs used in humans but it may be required to trim the animal’s hair for effective application of topical measures. Trimming will also reduce the number of ringworm spores that may be present in the hair. Medicated bath two times a week for a minimum of 3 up to 8 weeks may also be necessary using lime sulfur solution.
It is highly important to remove animal hair that may have spores clinging on them off the flooring and other surfaces of your house. Spores are able to survive from 1 to 2 years.
Home Remedies for Ringworm Treatment
You may have heard of some kitchen items to work as ringworm treatment such as vinegar, ginger, garlic, lemon, salt, etc but these are without scientific proof. However, they are recognized to minimize uncomfortable itch caused by the fungal infection. But if you want to be sure about getting the right treatment, it may be best to visit your doctor. As for your dogs or cats, a veterinarian can assure you of the best management.
Keep in mind that ringworm is highly contagious. Even if members of your household or some of your pets don’t show any symptoms but you know that an exposure took place, the disease may already have been picked up and treatment may already be needed.