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Cure For Ringworm

A cure for ringworm is as close as the nearest drugstore.

Topical ointments are common for treating ringworm. [© Shutterstock, 2010]
© Shutterstock, 2010
Topical ointments are common for treating ringworm.

Ringworm (tinea corporis) is a contagious skin disorder caused by a fungus, not a worm as the name suggests. Fortunately, there is a cure for ringworm. This article provides a brief overview of ringworm, ringworm causes, the cure for ringworm and tips for preventing ringworm infections.

Ringworm Symptoms

A characteristic sign of ringworm is an itchy skin rash that looks like a red ring of small blisters or scaly skin. Ringworm can appear on a person's scalp, feet, groin, fingernails or other parts of the body. As the ringworm fungus spreads, more rashes will sprout on the skin. Ringworm on the scalp can cause hair loss and bald patches.

Where Ringworm Strikes

Ringworm can affect people at any age, but children are more susceptible. Ringworm is highly contagious and can be contracted by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or by sharing their clothing, towels, or hairbrushes and combs. The fungus can be picked up from warm, wet areas like swimming pool surfaces or public shower stalls. Even the family cat or dog can carry ringworm and pass it on to its unsuspecting owner.

If you have a rash and think it might be ringworm, see your doctor immediately. The doctor may be able to diagnose ringworm just by looking at your rash. In some cases, a doctor may need to examine the rash with a special light or administer a skin culture (a skin test that involves examining a skin sample under controlled conditions).

Ringworm Treatment

Thankfully, ringworm can be cured. Antifungal medications can kill the fungus that causes ringworm. These medications come in different forms -- creams, lotions, powders or even shampoos -- and some are available without a prescription. The over-the-counter creams contain antifungals, such as miconazole or clotrimazole, and are usually effective as a cure for ringworm. Your doctor might also recommend corticosteroid creams to relieve itching and pain associated with the ringworm rash.

For more severe cases of ringworm, doctors can prescribe an antifungal pill like ketoconazole. Antifungal pills also are prescribed when ringworm affects a person's hair. If the ringworm has caused a bacterial infection, a doctor will also prescribe antibiotics for the patient. Make sure to follow your doctor's orders outlining the length of your medication's course. Stopping too soon may make the rash come back.

These medications are a cure for ringworm in the body, but the ringworm fungus can still live on personal items like clothes, towels and bed linens. Washing them thoroughly and often will kill the ringworm fungus and prevent the infection from spreading to others.

While ringworm treatment is effective and readily available, it's a good idea to practice good personal hygiene to avoid contracting ringworm in the first place. That means not sharing hats, combs, hair brushes, clothes or towels with other people. And, if you have a dog or cat, make sure it is regularly examined by a veterinarian for any signs of ringworm.

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