We often receive emails from our readers asking us questions pertaining to ringworm and other similar rashes in infants. A common question asked by parents of very young children is: ‘can eczema look like ringworm?’ Many concerned parents of infants also write in to us stating that their pediatrician has prescribed steroidal cream for their baby’s eczema which continues to get worse and spread all over. So today we will differentiate between nummular eczema and ringworm using pictures and detailed description of the symptoms. We will also study symptoms of ringworm vs eczema vs psoriasis as all three are very similar. Finally we will cover ringworm in babies’ natural treatment.
Can eczema look like ringworm?
Parents often think that that their baby’s rash is caused by eczema or contact dermatitis. However, it is best to see a doctor to tell the difference. The treatment for eczema and ringworm is very different. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis is a must. The symptoms of nummular eczema could last for months, whereas ringworm generally clears up within 2 weeks provided you use the right ringworm products.
Nummular eczema or ringworm pictures
Symptoms of nummular eczema
Nummular eczema is characterized by red, itchy skin. There may be excess dryness and scaling too. The patches of dry skin are typically present on the arms, legs, back, face, groin and other delicate folds of the skin. Other symptoms include:
- Extremely dry skin in patches of different colors like yellowish brown, red, white or pale pink.
- Itchiness that might keep the baby awake at night.
- The rash usually begins in the form of tiny red spots that appear to spread.
- There also may be painful, burning or stinging sensation causing the baby to cry excessively.
Symptoms of ringworm
- Ringworm consists of red circular lesions on the scalp, neck, back, armpits, groin and other sweaty regions.
- The rash appears red and raised as if there is a ‘worm’ present under the skin. That is actually the reason why the word ‘ringworm’ was first coined. However, ringworm is entirely a fungal infection caused by dermatophytes.
- The circular clearing inside the raised scaly rash may show hair loss.
The main difference between nummular eczema and ringworm is that the latter does not cause burning or stinging. Also, there is no color change in the skin and lesions are mostly uniform in coloring.
Ringworm vs eczema vs psoriasis
Psoriasis is not very common in babies. When it occurs, it could lead to red, raised rash. Often psoriasis rash may be confused with eczema or ringworm. If the rash is present in the groin area, it could even be diaper rash.
Ringworm or skin rash: what to do?
Rashes are very common in infants. However, parents must learn to take them seriously as they could indicate an issue with the immune system or even an underlying health issue. If the rash appears to worsen then seek medical help immediately.
Ringworm usually goes away on its own. However, some severe cases could lead medicines-both topical and oral. Use the medicine as directed as stopping the dose midway could bring the infection back.
Causes of rashes in babies
Rashes can occur due to numerous reasons. Extreme temperatures, skin sensitivity, a history of skin rashes like atopic dermatitis, poor immunity, prescription drugs, and unhygienic conditions can all lead to rashes. Ringworm rashes occur due to sweat and can be transmitted from other family members. It is very important to isolate the person suffering from ringworm and wash all her/his personal items in hot water. Never share combs, towels, and other items as this spreads the fungal spores to healthy members.
Baby ringworm treatment
- Shampoo and bathe the baby every day. Use pediatrician approved products.
- Apply anti-fungal medicine as prescribed by the doctor.
- Change and wash baby’s clothing daily.
- Keep separate combs, towels and brushes for baby.
If these options do not clear the rash, your doctor might prescribe oral antifungal medicine.
Nummular eczema treatment
- Use hypoallergenic products to wash baby’s clothing.
- Avoid chemicals and metals if your baby has skin sensitivity.
- Bathe the baby in tepid water and use doctor approved, gentle products.
- In case of dry climate, run a humidifier in baby’s room.
- Do not swaddle baby tightly in blankets or sweaters; use loose cotton clothing.
If the above steps do not improve baby’s skin condition, your doctor might prescribe antihistamines for the itchiness as well as oral antibiotics for clearing the rash. In severe cases, corticosteroids, photo-therapy or other options may be discussed.