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What is it?
Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection of the skin.
Symptoms: A red itchy rash that spreads out in a shape of a ring. Mild scaling of the skin is common. Usually appears in warm, moist areas such as groins, armpits and under the breasts. Ringworm caught from domestic animals or cattle may affect any part of the body. When ringworm affects the scalp, the skin flakes and itches and bald patches develop. On the nails ringworm may cause white spots, or the nails may be yellow and crumbly.
Causes: Fungal infection
Possible complications: Kerion with possible scarring, Spreading to other parts of the body. Skin sepsis.
Treatment in the home: Keep children with ringworm away from school until the condition clears. If the ringworm was acquired from a pet, take the pet to a vet for treatment. Change bedlinen and towels daily. Wash clothing after it has been worn once. To avoid spreading the infection, do not share towels and face cloths. If the scalp is affected, dispose of infected brushes and combs. If possible, do not let affected parts of the body touch unaffected part s as the infection will spread.
When to consult a doctor: As soon as the symptoms of ringworm appear.
What the doctor may do: Take a skin scraping to identify the fungus. Prescribe topical treatment, i.e. an antifungal cream or ointment to be applied to the affected areas. Prescribe oral therapy if the nails and scalp are affected, or if the infection does not respond to topical treatment.