Ringworm is an itchy affliction, one that most people have several misconceptions about it. Today, we will be touching base upon some of the most common misconceptions about ringworm and the actual facts about it.
Ringworm is not a worm
Ringworm is a skin disease that affects everyone- from kids to adults to animals. In the past, the appearance of the infection (which usually occurs as a raised scaly rash with a central clearing) led people to believe that it is a worm present under the skin. Today, most people know that ringworm is caused by a fungus. It is also known as Tinea infection in medical parlance.
Jock Itch affects even couch potatoes and not just athletes
People usually believe that Jock Itch or Tinea infection of the crotch region affects only athletes and sports people. However, the infection can affect even couch potatoes or people who spend a lot of time sitting down. While it is true that mostly men suffer from Jock Itch, especially the ones having to wear tight sweaty clothing for long periods of time (as seen on a sports field), it is not limited to just this gender and even women could develop fungal infections in the groin region. The only difference is that in women, fungal infections can be attributed to Candida or yeast apart from the Tinea-causing dermatophytes.
Ringworm thrives in moist and sweaty environments
Tinea infections can be attributed to dermatophytes and their rate of survival depends on the amount of moisture and sweat available on one’s body. It is no wonder that the infection mainly affects men and women who have to wear tight clothing, underwear etc. Men usually get Jock Itch more than women do, because the rate of sweating in their groin is more than that in women.
Ringworm infections spread from one person to another as well as on your own body
This means that if you have ringworm on your feet, you have a greater risk of developing Jock Itch or even Tinea Cruris or Tinea Capititis. Your clothes, socks, underwear etc can easily transfer the spores of your Athlete’s Foot to your private areas. Moreover, if your friends or family members use your infected clothing, combs, towels, bed sheets, pillow cases etc, then too their chances of developing tinea on their body go up. Today, there is some new evidence which is now suggesting that some people are simply more prone to getting ringworm infections frequently, because they are genetically predisposed to them.
Ringworm infections must not be ignored
You might think that ringworm infections will go away on their own. However, some cases of these infections need integrated management steps. Not only must you use topical anti-fungal creams religiously two or three times a day on them, you might even need systemic medication. This is especially true if you get recurrent ringworm infections every few months. In either case, your doctor/dermatologist will be your best help in letting you know what kind of treatment is best suited for your particular case. Also, what you perceive to be Jock Itch might actually be some kind of allergic reaction in the groin. So it is best to consult a dermatologist who has usually seen hundreds of such cases and can make an accurate diagnosis.
Keeping the infected area dry is crucial
Most doctors recommend the use of drying powders with anti fungal medication to keep the infected region completely dry. This is crucial to limit the fungi from growing and spreading to healthy areas. In most cases, your symptoms will start disappearing (provided you are religious with the application of the topical anti fungal cream/powder) in a couple of weeks. Despite this, you must ensure following precautions like drying the skin after bathing and applying necessary meds. If required, you should also apply the powder/cream on your feet apart from the groin to prevent recurring Jock Itch infections.
Discoloration is a standard side effect of ringworm
Many people notice discoloured skin after the ringworm is cured. This is very natural and one must continue applying the medication. The whiteness of the area will start diminishing in a few weeks time.
Ringworm is more common than you’d think
If you are suffering from ringworm, you need not be embarrassed. It is a highly common skin infection and hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are known to suffer from it all across the world. The bottom line is to get it treated quickly. If you experience any burning, itchy sensation on a scaly red rash on any part of the body, have it checked by a dermatologist immediately.