Ringworm infection can be treated with a well known natural remedy
In spite of its name, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. It is caused by a fungus. This itching skin rash is common among children and can affect any one at any age if exposed. If your child or grandchild has it you need to be vigilant or you could be next. There are however at home remedies you can do to both treat and prevent this scourge.
The stigma of this rash can be intense. I remember having it once on my legs as a child and it was traumatic. My schoolmates made me feel as though I had leprosy, and I felt dirty and ashamed. I now realize of course it had nothing to do with poor hygiene and everything to do with the others at school I was exposed to. Certainly they should not have been throwing stones in their glass houses!
Ringworm is caused by a fungus and has different names according to the location where it is located.
Tinea Pedis – Feet (also called athletes foot)
Tinea Cruris – Groin (also called Jock Itch)
Tinea Barbae – Beard
Tinea Capitis – Scalp
Tinea Corporis – Body
It is very contagious and is spread in several ways. It can be spread by person to person contact or contact with shared items such as combs, towels, linens, or shower and pool/spa surfaces. The fungus thrives in moist warm areas.
Symptoms of ringworm include:
- Red rash that is often redder around the outside with more normal skin tone in the center. This is what makes it look like a ring.
- Red, itchy, scaly, raised, patches that may eventually blister, open and ooze.
- The areas often appear to have very well defined edges.
- If ringworm affects your hair or beard, you can develop bald patches.
The majority of the time your healthcare provider can diagnose it by just examining your skin. Sometimes, the doctor may examine your skin using a special blue light called a Wood’s lamp. Ringworm fungus usually glows in this type of lighting. Additional diagnostic tests include KOH skin scraping and skin biopsy.
Prevention is crucial for ringworm. Keep your skin clean and dry. Don’t share towels, linens, combs, brushes, etc.
If infected, don’t wear clothing that is tight and rubs on your skin that could irritate the area. Wash your towels, wash clothes, linens and nightclothes daily.
Over the counter medications may be enough to clear it up however you may require stronger prescription medications such as Ketoconazole.
Also do not scratch at the rash. If you break your skin integrity you may develop a superimposed infection like strep or staph. A MRSA staph is worrisome.
There is some evidence natural remedies may help cure this type of fungal infection. One of the more promising remedies includes using essential oils.
Studies have indicated that tea tree essential oil may help cure ringworm of the feet (athlete’s foot). In 2002 a study from the Australasian Journal of Dermatology showed promise. Researchers in that study treated 158 patients with a placebo, 25% or 50% tea tree oil. The participants applied the oils to the areas that were affected for a month. At the end of the study, what was considered a significant improvement was seen in over 70 percent of the individuals that used the 25% tea tree oil. 68% of the individuals that used the 50% tee tree solution showed improvement. Less than 40% of the individuals that used the placebo saw any improvement at all.
Take home message
Call your health care practitioner immediately if you have any signs of a superimposed bacterial infection. The signs include warm skin, swelling at the site, increased redness, fever or drainage from open areas. You may require antibiotics in addition to fungal treatment.