The Facts About Ringworm (First, It’s Not Really a Worm!)

rash ointment for adults, questions to ask your pharmacist, Benton, AR

Knowing the signs and symptoms of ringworm can help in early diagnosis and treatment of the ailment. 

Ringworm is a common infection that can spread easily. Learn the facts about this infection, so you will know if you have it and how to treat it.

Despite its name, ringworm is not actually a worm. It is a fungal infection that you can catch from infected people, animals, objects, and soil. Although ringworm usually is not serious, it can cause unpleasant symptoms that are treatable with over-the-counter products.

Symptoms of Ringworm

When you have ringworm, you might notice an area of skin that has a scaly, flat appearance at first. This area of skin typically becomes reddish and has a distinctive border that ends up getting larger and forming a ring-like shape. Rather than looking like a perfect circle, this ring-like appearance is usually wavy and uneven. You might end up having more than one ring, and you might have tiny, red bumps or scaly areas inside these rings. In many cases, the affected areas of skin tend to be itchy.

Causes of Ringworm

Parasites that infect the outer parts of the skin cause ringworm. You can catch these parasites from direct contact with infected people or animals, such as when you pet an infected dog. You can also get ringworm when you touch contaminated items or surfaces. Although you can also catch ringworm from contact with contaminated soil, this is rare. Your risk of getting ringworm is higher if you live in a warm area or if you live with people or pets who have a ringworm infection. You also have an increased risk of getting ringworm if you wrestle or do other sports that involve a lot of direct contact or if you wear tight clothes.

Treatment for Ringworm

If you have a mild ringworm infection, you can try applying an over-the-counter rash ointment for adults. These antifungal products, such as Terbafine or Clotrimazole, might take a couple of weeks to clear up ringworm infections. For more severe cases, you might need a prescription antifungal cream, lotion, or antifungal pills from your doctor. If you try treating ringworm on your own, keep in mind that you should see your doctor if you still have the rash after two weeks.

Ringworm Prevention

It is hard to prevent ringworm, since it is contagious in the early stages before the rash shows up. However, you can do certain things to lower your risk of getting this infection. One of the most basic ways to protect yourself is by washing your hands often, especially in certain environments, such as schools and fitness centers. Avoid petting animals with patches of bare skin, which can indicate a ringworm infection, and avoid wearing tight clothes, especially in warmer weather. You can also help prevent ringworm by not sharing towels, clothes, and other items with other people.

If you have questions to ask your pharmacist about ringworm or if you need help choosing an over-the-counter ringworm treatment, please contact Smith-Caldwell Drug Store in Benton, AR by calling 501-392-5470.