Ah, ringworm. That annoying skin infection that makes circular patches on your skin look like they've been attacked by aliens from outer space. It's not pretty and it's definitely not cool.
But is ringworm contagious? And will it spread or get bigger over time? Don't worry, dear reader. We'll tackle all of these questions and more in this article.
First things first: what is ringworm?
Contrary to its name, ringworm isn't actually a worm at all. It's a fungal infection that affects the top layer of your skin - making those roundish patterns you might see on your arms, back or scalp.
Ringworm thrives in warm and moist environments; so if you're constantly sweaty (hey there athletes!) or have poor hygiene habits, then you're more likely to develop the condition.
It can also happen when you come into contact with someone who has it - sharing towels or clothing is the perfect way to catch some unwanted fungal friends!
So how do I know if I have ringworm?
Well for starters - we don't recommend trying to diagnose yourself via Google Image search! But if you observe any symptoms similar to those mentionned above, then yep sorry buddy – chances are good that you’ve joined Club Tinea Corporis (fancy talk for "ring worm").
Symptoms include redness around the affected area(s), scaly-looking skin as well as an itching sensation which may cause inflammation making the infected parts emit water.
How long does it take for my little "rings" to go away?
Oh man... here comes the bad news : Even though common cases will usually disappear after about two weeks (you lucky folks out there) , stubborn infections might last up to several months .
If not treated properly,it can even be prone experience recurrence(as much fun as it is to dress up like a Christmas tree, we really recommend going for the "one-and-done" aesthetic here.)
Alright alright - so what about this contagion thing?
As happens with most things in life -- there's good news and bad news. The good news is that ringworm isn't among the most contagious fungi out there (if one can describe such a thing).
It’s estimated that only about 1-2% of people might be vulnerable to get infected . But just because you fall outside those statistics doesn’t mean you’re completely invincible!
That being said, practicing basic hygiene habits will help reduce your risk of contracting the fungus. It's also important to go see your GP if you suspect or know that you've been exposed since depending on it different medications may be requiered.
Will my infection spread outwardly from its starting point?
Well yes...and no. Ringworm has a tendency to grow radially outwards, thus commonly goes in circles (hence why it gets its name)
If left untreated it'll likely expand further outwards concentrically before possibly merging with other circular patches, forming larger scales over time.
Now don’t fret — usually these rings won't exceed more than an inch across(volume-wise) but occasionally they can take up quite a pesky territory - think sizable part of your torso...
So do I have to cut off my arm now?
To quote ~~The Simpsons~~ friendlier sources : Absolutely not! Unless complications arise which would cause multiple regions on your body too flare up rapidly . This is pretty rare nowadays thanks to modern medicine ! If however ,it does become severe enough then medication may need be taken systematically instead of topically
Remember though: prevention is key when dealing with fungal infections – avoid wearing tight clothing (you need some breathing space down there!) or sharing personal items until symptoms have disappeared.
Alright, what can I do to prevent spreading it?
- Use a separate towel and washcloth for infected areas (no double-dipping!)
- Wash all clothing or bedding that could have come in contact with the fungus
- Avoid using communal objects if at all possible. Remember "your sister's lip balm is not your friend!"
- Wash your hands often, especially after touching or scratching irritated skin
These tips may help reduce further contamination of those little suckers !
Wait wait... can pets also host my new friends over here?
shakily nodding head: Yes....
Dogs and cats are common carriers of ringworm (they just love to share!) so minimizing pet interaction might be a good approach while you’re treating yourself.Though,to avoid becoming paranoid altogether, we think avoiding completely them isn;t necessary unless direct contact occurred.
Fun Fact: other unexpected organisms who possess ringworm include guinea pigs,chinchillas,turtles . Keep this list handy for next time ! Who knows when it'll come in useful ;
Should I stop going to work / school ?
Don't get too excited on getting away from commitments way too easily -! In most cases ,there won’t be any issue keeping up with work or studies but taking precautions never hurts
If someone else notices they're having similar symptoms you should let them know about steps needed to take though asymptomatic colleagues probably don’t need warnings because as mentioned earlier infection rates remain low.
Equivalently,GPs generaly allow minor physical activities which doesn't make victim moist(say buh-bye sauna gym) and whose equipment arent shared between many At-risk people like weights etc .
But tl;dr – basically encouraging person contact during infection will likely worsen symptoms as well as increase the spreading possibility.Long story short: stay cautious but still carry on with daily life.
Wait.... can't I just use some home remedies?
Sadly, our great-grandmothers claims of “vinegar and baking soda cures anything” might not necessarily work in this case (sorry Grandma). It’s important to see a doctor or dermatologist for proper treatment .
Most cases are treated easily with topical creams or ointments while more severe ones may require prescription drugs. By ignoring symptoms completely,you’re unlikely to encounter success down the road.
Alright alright- it's good that i get all these treatments... but how much will they cost me?
We understand your concern ,whether you be lucky enough have health insurance or anyone without it,we want to say - ringworm-laden individuality should never go untreated due finances . There exist alternative options – first check up out GP plan before searching online for other solutions!
If financial difficulties arise there are places like clinics at reduced rates including medicare,Gov.uk The NHS & healthcare based on income.
Do-It-Yourself treatments shouldn't really ever come into play period-if let alone one has already tried them unsuccessfully!
Antibacterial soap(Absolutely not!) : Because ding ding ! You know what is useless against fungus? bacteria(Unless you're immune system becomes seriously compromised )
Scratching: We do realise scratching feels pretty darn fantastic(at least after being bitten by those pesky mosquitos) BUT soothe yourself first through other ways such as(but not limited to) cool compresses over any especially thorny patches !
Coconut oil:A trending idea nowadays which early studies suggested might possess certain antifungal properties but unfortunately it hasn;t been scientifically proven again using only coconut oil isn't gonna make pus-filled spots disappear overnight ( we wish!)
So amidst the comedic relief provided,it’s important to take into consideration preventative measures as well real treatment if infected.Spread awareness,because no doubt someone somewhere is googling a remedy for that strange black line which just appeared under their toe...