Ringworm does not come from ticks. You can catch ringworm from adults, children, animals, and common areas at gyms such as shower stalls and sinks. Ringworm is a fungus, not a worm. It is most often transmitted through damp areas such as public showers and locker rooms. The second most common means of contracting ringworm is from pets. Pets are constantly shedding, leaving spore covered hairs behind. If you touch the hairs, either through cleaning or petting your dog (or cat), you can contract the fungus.
Anyone can catch ringworm, but children, the elderly, young animals, people on chemotherapy, stressed individuals, and people who are HIV+ are at a greater risk of contracting ringworm. The reason stress, chemotherapy, and HIV make it easier to contract ringworm is these conditions disable the immune system making it harder to fight the fungus.
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Ringworm comes from dermatophytes or microscopic organisms. The organisms consume the dead outer layers of the skin. The fungus also grows on the hair and nails. On the skin, it can look like the infected person has a worm growing underneath the skin. The worm takes the shape of a ring, hence the name ringworm. Other symptoms of ringworm include sores, itching, and reddened skin. Ringworm can appear on any area of the skin, even the groin area or the feet.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may prescribe oral medications, creams or a combination of the two to get rid of ringworm. Topical ringworm cures include Cruex cream, Desenex cream, Lotrimin cream, lotion, and solution), miconazole (Monistat-Derm cream), ketoconazole (Nizoral cream), and terbinafine (Lamisil cream and solution). Many of these treatment options are effective for foot fungus as well.
Oral ringworm treatment options include griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grifulvin, and Gris-PEG), terbinafine, itraconazole (Sporanox), and fluconazole (Diflucan). When used properly, these treatment options will not have a negative effect on the liver. Effective medicated ringworm shampoos include Selsun Blue or anti-fungal shampoos that contain ketoconazole 2% (Nizoral) or the newer ciclopriox. When using most types of ringworm treatments, symptoms typically disappear within four weeks of treatment.
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To prevent ringworm, WebMD.com offers the following advice:
-Don’t share clothing, sports gear, towels, or sheets. If you think you have been exposed to ringworm, wash your clothes in hot water with special anti-fungus soap.
-Wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms and public bathing areas.
-Shower and shampoo well after any sport that includes skin-to-skin contact.
-Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Change your socks and underwear at least once a day.
-Keep your skin clean and dry. Always dry yourself completely after showers or baths, drying your feet last.
-If you have athlete’s foot, put your socks on before your underwear so that fungi do not spread from your feet to your groin.
-Take your pet to the vet if it has patches of missing hair, which could be a sign of a fungal infection.
If you or someone in your family has symptoms, it is important to treat ringworm right away to keep other family members from getting it. –www.webmd.com