Despite what the name implies, ringworm is not a “worm” at all. It is a superficial fungal infection of the skin. Ringworm, also known as dermatophytosis or tinea, can be spread through humans, pets and other animals. Yeast infections of the skin, which are closely related, may just occur due to an overgrowth of yeast that can normally be found in small amounts on the skin.
Besides “ringworm”, other examples of fungal infections of the skin include:
- Athlete’s foot
- Nail fungus
- Jock Itch
- Tinea versicolor
Fungal Infection Treatment
Most occurrences of ringworm present with round, red, scaly spots, but some are not round, often causing it to become mistaken for another skin infection. There are also other instances where round spots on the skin are not ringworm. A dermatologist may be able to make the diagnosis by inspection or may need to do additional testing.
Ringworm is often treated with topical creams containing anti-fungal substances, but some cases require oral medication.
How to Prevent Fungal Infections
Ringworm can be prevented by taking precautions such as avoiding sharing clothes, combs, brushes, hair clippers, towels, and sports equipment. When playing sports or on hot days, wear materials that “breathe.” Cotton and moisture-wicking fabrics are best. Real leather athletic shoes are also preferred over synthetic shoes. Do not go barefoot at the beach, around pools, in locker rooms, hotel rooms, or any other public areas. Wash hands often.
A sign of ringworm in pets can be a bald spot in their fur, so seek attention for your pet if you see this sign.
There are also many bacterial skin infections caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus (most commonly) that can be treated by a dermatologist. Open wounds, preexisting skin disease or poor hygiene can increase chances of contracting infection. Common types of infection include:
- Furnucles (boils)
- Carbuncles (abscesses)
Antibiotics are often used to treat bacterial infections. Some only require topical forms, while others need oral medication or a combination of both. Some pockets of infection may need to be open up and drained.
If you suspect ringworm or another fungal or bacterial infection, contact Aesthetic Specialty Centre Plastic Surgery & Dermatology. Our offices can be reached at (770) 393-9000 in Roswell or (706) 467-6500 in Greensboro. ADSC is conveniently located near Atlanta, Georgia.