If you have ever had ringworm (tinea), then you know how uncomfortable it can be. The chronic itching, the embarrassing red rings; you just want the infection to go away and never come back. Ringworm is highly contagious, so even if you do cure the infection you need to understand what causes ringworm in humans. It helps to avoid contracting it again as well as prevent spreading it to people and animals that come in your contact.
Transmission Between Humans
Like many communicable diseases, ringworm can be passed between humans through skin-to-skin contact. The fungus that causes the infection lives on the cells of the epidermis. Touching the infected area usually results in transmission of the fungus, and a person can expect to develop the characteristic symptoms of ringworm shortly afterwards.
Transmission from Object to Human
Although ringworm prefers to live in moist dark areas on the body, it can survive for a short period of time on surfaces like combs, bedding, and clothing. Touching these items after an infected person has come into contact with them can result in an infection. Ringworm also thrives in places like shower floors and swimming pools. So you can also incur the infection by walking on floors or swimming in water where the fungus is active.
Animal to Human Contact
Animals can get ringworm too, and it is one of the few diseases that transfer easily from animals to humans. Cats are the most common household animals that infect people with ringworm. However, other animals like dogs and sheep can also pass the infection to their human handlers.
On the rare occasion, a person can get ringworm from infected soil like sand or dirt. Unlike other forms of transmission, however, the infection can only pass with prolonged contact with the offending soil. The most common body parts infected this way are the feet.
Individuals have a higher chance of contracting ringworm infection if they:
- Are very young or too old
- Already are infected with a fungal infection or had one in the past
- Are African Carribbean (scalp infections seen more commonly)
- Suffer from type 1 diabetes
- Are not lean or suffer from obesity
- Have a weekened immune system either due to stress or diseases like HIV or AIDS (A strong immune system protects the body from exposure to harmful infections).
- Undergoing any medication or therapy that weakens the immune system like steroid meds or chemotherapy.
- Suffer from atherosclerosis. A problem in which plaque builds up inside your arteries and hardens them.
- Suffer from venous insufficiency. A problem in which veins are unable to effectively circulate blood back and forth from the lower extremities (legs)
Preventing Recurring Ringworm
Ringworm is one of the most common skin infections that affect humans. As noted before, it is highly contagious and very easy to get. Curing the disease and preventing it from coming back requires persistence and diligence. Here is how to get rid of ringworm in adults as well as children and keep the infection from returning.
- Practice good hygiene: The first step is to practice good hygiene. Bathe on a daily basis and always wash your hands, particularly after touching infected parts of your body. Using hand sanitizer is not enough. Ringworm is caused by a fungus and hand sanitizers are only designed to kill bacteria. Wear waterproof shoes when using communal showers and wipe down gym equipment before and after using it.
- Use an effective ring worm cure: Your doctor will generally recommend a prescription or over-the-counter remedy for treating ringworm. It is important to use the product as directed. Be aware, though, that pharmaceutical drugs and creams can cause unpleasant side effects and they often take weeks to work. For recommendations of natural cures that kill ringworm infections fast without harming the body further, go to the homepage to read our comprehensive reviews of the top products on the market.
- Don’t overuse medications: Overuse of antifungal medications can result in reduced efficacy and treatment-resistant infections. If this happens, try switching to natural remedies that work with the body’s internal healing processes.
- Clean with bleach: Bleach is an antifungal product. Wash all surfaces using it or a similar antifungal. Wash all linen, bedding, and clothing in antifungal detergent to kill the infection on skin cells that may have been left behind by an infected person.
- Get pets checked: Animals can spread the infection to humans and vice versa. Your pet may be an unknowing carrier, particularly if they are outdoor animals that come in contact with other animals. Take them to the vet and have them checked for ringworm. Have them treated immediately if tests come back positive.
- Get a second opinion: Some skin diseases exhibit the same symptoms as ringworm. If the infection continues to reappear and/or stops responding to treatment, have it checked by a doctor to confirm whether or not it is ringworm.
There are prescription treatments available but they come with the risk of side effects. Lately natural treatments are getting very popular. We reviewed and researched popular products and found only a few that effectively get rid of ringworm fast without unpleasant side effects. Learn about products that cure chronic cases of ringworm as well on the homepage.