Contrary to what its name suggests, ringworm is not a worm or parasite. Instead, it is a fungal infection that commonly affects the skin and scalp. It thrives in moist, warm environments and can be transmitted from person to person, or even from animal to person. Ringworm may be uncomfortable, but it is not a severe condition. Treatment with a topical antibiotic is easy. Here are 10 of the most common symptoms of ringworm.
Classic Red Ring Rash
The fungus that causes ringworms gets its name for the distinctive red, ring rash it causes. The ring can appear anywhere on the body, though it prefers warm, moist places like the groin, the bottoms of the feet, and the underarms. The rash is typically a small, red, flaky ring in an almost perfect circle.
The area around the infected skin may become very dry. This is because the skin that has the rash, as well as the surrounding tissue, is drained of the moisture needed to keep the fungus alive.
The dryness of the infected skin, as well as the fungal infection itself, may cause intense itching. Sufferers should be aware that scratching doesn’t bring any long-lasting relief and can put them at risk for a spreading of the rash.
Flaky or Scaly Skin
The flaky or scaly skin involved in and around the rash may become thick and yellow. This symptom is especially prevalent in the soles of the feet or palms of the hands.
In cases where the rash has developed in areas where hair grows, the sufferer may experience hair loss as the rash progresses. A person’s scalp, beard, pubic region, and eyebrows are all vulnerable to developing the rash. As the skin thickens and becomes drier, a temporary loss of hair may be experienced.
Painful Yellow Flaking Nails
If the fungus takes root in the bed of your nail, the affected nail will thicken and yellow. This happens as the nail is deprived of nutrients and water and is tainted by the fungus.
Because it is a moist, warm place, the groin is an ideal breeding ground for the fungus that causes ringworm. Often, an itch that is dismissed as a jock itch may actually be caused by the same fungus that causes ringworm.
Like jock itch, the vernacular of athlete’s foot means few realize the connection to the ringworm fungus. Skin thickening is very common when ringworm is present in the feet.
Someone You Live With Has It
Ringworm is highly contagious, especially when it is not being treated properly. If someone you live or work with closely has ringworm, athlete’s foot, or jock itch, you may be at greater risk of developing it yourself.
You Have An Itchy Pet
Ringworm is highly contagious and can be transmitted from pet to person. This fungal infection can be picked up from the soil and can infect most mammals, including the household dog or cat. Ringworm is easily transmitted from touch, and petting an animal that has been infected can put you at risk of infection.