One of many solely good issues that may be stated about ringworm is it isn’t truly a worm. It’s a typical fungal illness brought on by a mold-type parasite within the outer pores and skin layer.
However that’s the place the excellent news ends.
Ringworm is very contagious and spreading in Maine proper now. This summer season’s scorching humid situations are the right situations for it. Fortunately, normally it’s simply handled.
“We do are inclined to see extra of it in the summertime,” stated Dr. Dora Mills, Chief Well being Enchancment Officer for MaineHealth. “And with the summer season we’ve got had with the warmth and humidity, I might not be shocked if there may be an uptick in tinea.”
Tinea just isn’t tracked by any public or personal well being company, so actual numbers of circumstances in Maine are usually not recognized.
The rash most frequently presents as a purple, raised circle on the pores and skin that appears a bit like a parasitic worm. It may be discovered anyplace on the physique — however some areas go by different names. For example, on the ft it’s referred to as athlete’s foot. No matter you name it and wherever you discover it, it’s all brought on by the tinea household of fungi, which reside naturally in your pores and skin, hair and nails.
Ringworm turns into an issue when its atmosphere will get scorching and damp, inflicting the fungi to develop uncontrollably, particularly on these elements of your physique which can be susceptible to being moist and heat. That, after all, has been the climate lately in Maine.
You may also contract the an infection anytime your pores and skin comes into contact with an individual or animal — pets and livestock get ringworm, too — who already has an energetic an infection.
“It’s contagious and also you catch it from different folks or pets, however you don’t must do any contact tracing for those who get it,” Mills stated. “With correct remedy, it ought to clear up in two weeks, but when it doesn’t it is best to contact your healthcare supplier.”
Most ringworm infections will be handled with over-the-counter antifungal lotions and efforts to eradicate moisture within the space. A dialog with a pharmacist will level you to the perfect antifungal cream to deal with it.
However when tinea is on the scalp, an over-the-counter remedy just isn’t going to be sufficient, Mills stated.
“That’s when it requires oral medicines and it is advisable be seen by a well being supplier,” she stated. “Generally you might want oral medicines and a particular shampoo.”
For the itching, there are topical therapies as effectively however by no means use something containing steroids to deal with tinea.
“Plenty of anti-itch over-the-counter therapies do comprise steroids,” Mill stated. “Steroids will solely make the fungus worse.”
Additionally take warning with what you utilize on younger youngsters when treating any itchiness.
“With youngsters, you should utilize a Benadryl cream [for the itchiness],” she stated. “However an excessive amount of of it getting absorbed into the pores and skin could make a baby very drowsy.”
Because it’s a fungus and spores can unfold simply, it’s additionally vital to scrub something that comes into contact with contaminated pores and skin – together with towels, bedding and clothes.
However the simplest measure towards ringworm is to keep away from getting it altogether. To do this, you’ll wish to hold weak areas on the physique clear and dry.
“With athletes’ ft, it’s tinea on the ft and we are inclined to see that in adolescents to are inclined to have sweaty ft,” Mills stated. “Particularly when they’re carrying sneakers that they’ll’t hold dry and don’t have nice air flow.”
When attainable, she urged athletes or anybody who wears sneakers that commonly get moist, have an additional pair available to allow them to develop into dry footwear. Foot powders within the footwear also can assist Mills stated.
Mother and father ought to make certain their youngsters dry utterly off when popping out of the water and go for cotton underwear the remainder of the time.
“Everybody ought to change their socks and underwear day-after-day,” Mills stated. “Moisture tends to gather in these areas and might create the atmosphere extra conducive for the fungus to develop.”
It’s additionally vital to not share athletic gear like footwear, helmets or hats and at all times put on some form of foot masking in public bogs and showers.
However regardless of the identify, ringworm doesn’t should be fearsome.
“It actually has a horrible identify,” stated Mills. “I’ve by no means favored that identify as a result of it has such a ‘ick’ issue and it’s such a misnomer.”