What is ringworm?

While the name might suggest that the infection is caused by a worm, ringworm is actually the result of a contagious fungal infection that invades the skin. If you’ve ever heard of jock itch before, you’re familiar with a common form of ringworm. This fungus lives on the outer layer of the skin and on the hair, and thrives in moist environments.

What causes ringworm?

The two most common types of ringworm are athlete’s foot and jock itch, which can be spread by coming in contact with the fungus and with those who have been infected. Sharing contaminated items like towels or clothing can also spread the infection, and it’s even possible to catch ringworm by coming in contact with a pet that has this fungal infection.

What are the symptoms of ringworm?

The majority of ringworm infections cause an itchy, scaly rash. This rash can be found on the chest, arms, stomach, feet, groin or legs. Ringworm rashes that form on the feet will often contain blisters. The reddish-brown rash may have a ring-like border, which makes it easy to pinpoint as a fungal infection.

You may find that your symptoms become worse whenever clothing rubs against the rash or whenever you’re hot or sweaty. The rash can also spread to other parts of the body including your scalp and nails.

How is ringworm treated?

There are a variety of over-the-counter topical antifungals like Lamisil that can effectively treat jock itch and athlete’s foot. However, if the infection is too severe or doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications, then your Hilton Head dermatologist may need to prescribe a stronger oral medication to treat your widespread infection.

Even if your infection begins to clear up before you are finished your medication it’s important to continue your treatment until the medication is finished. It usually takes a couple weeks for ringworm to go away completely.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms and you’re looking for fast relief, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your Hilton Head dermatologist at May River Dermatology.