Early Stages Of Ringworm

The early stages of ringworm have several visible symptoms. Though they may vary from one person to the next, it can be quickly identify and treated.

Overview

Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that is more common in younger people. It is not life-threatening, but it can look unattractive and may send a negative message about you. Ringworm is a red circle on the skin that can be itchy. Ringworm may appear on one or more parts of the body.

  • Feet – commonly known as the athlete’s foot or tinea pedis
  • Scalp – usually found in children, it is referred to as tinea captis
  • Groin, inner thighs, or buttocks – referred to as the jock itch or tinea cruiris
  • Hands – tinea manuum
  • Beard – tinea barbae
  • Toenails or fingernails – also called onychomycosis or tinea unuium

Doctors are yet to treat a painful ringworm infection. But there is need to act fast during the initial stages to avoid costly curative measures in the future. If you let it advance to the chronic phase, it will need medication that causes several side effects including liver damage.

The name ringworm might mislead people to think that worms cause the infection, but it merely describes the shape of the patches. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that scientists discovered ringworm is a result of several types of microscopic fungus trying to live on human and animal skin. By this time, the name had already stuck.

There are two variants of the infection. One is commonly known as acute ringworm, and it is characterized by a sudden attack of the infection, and the other is referred to as chronic ringworm. The latter is known to build up slowly and takes time to manifest itself. The symptoms of ringworm also vary depending on the part of your body that is affected. Nonetheless, early stages of ringworm can be easily noticed.

Here's what you need to look for:

Foot infection, commonly known as Athlete’s foot

It starts with a slight itch between the toenails. Typically, people tend to ignore it assuming that it’s usual. Besides, it does not hurt. It occurs more in men who live in warm and humid areas; where the sweat in the shoes creates a perfect breeding ground for the fungus.

If left unattended to, the situation escalates rapidly making your feet become red and eventually spreads the fungus to all your footwear and family members. Of course, that raises the cost of fighting the disease, so the best thing to do is to identify it during the early stages and seek treatment as soon as possible.

Scalp infections

The earliest signs of a scalp infection is a circular rash that is red or pinkish in color. After a few days, you notice some hair loss in that particular area, and things turn from bad to worse in a record time. This infection is common in children, but there are sporadic cases in adults. It depends on your immune system, and if it is susceptible, you are prone to ringworm and other opportunistic infections.

In case you notice ringworm on one of your kids or pets, change combs, towels, and other shared amenities. That way, you “contain” the fungi to its current host, saving you the trouble of having all the kids infected and possibly, you too.

Groin and buttocks infections

Let’s face it, these are the most embarrassing ringworm infections you could ever have. They attack the private parts that remain covered, enjoying warmth all day long. It is not clear why this particular fungus like the groin, but early treatment is necessary.

The first thing patients notice is itchiness that later develops into red, circular rashes. This problem is commonly found in men while women will suffer from yeast infections. Either way, report it early to a physician to get medication, or better still, seek natural methods of treatment.

Hand infections

Though hand infections are highly unlikely, doctors have recorded several cases in people who have questionable hygiene. It appears like a groin infection, only that it may affect one hand only. The reason why it is so uncommon is early detection and the use of disinfectants.

To avoid this and many other infections, sanitize your hands and pets regularly. It kills all the tiny living things on the skin, almost instantly.

Beard infections

Here, what you are looking for is an itchy patch that looks different. If you leave it unattended, it may inflame and shed off some hair, resulting in an unattractive spot on your face. Usually, this infection occurs when people share shaving machines.

Toe and fingernail infections

The first thing you notice here is the gradual change in the color of your nails. The toenails may become hard, brittle, or have an irregular shape. And the problem commonly occurs in older males. However, anybody with a weak immune system may get infected.

This form of infection does not hurt or itch, but it negatively affects your appearance. So keep your socks and shoes clean and dry always.

How to prevent and treat ringworm infections

Fungal infections are hard to manage. They have a similar cell structure to humans, making it hard to create solutions that eliminate them. The early stages of ringworm are the best time to administer treatment. Waiting for too long might give the fungus ample time to multiply and become a chronic case in no time.

After successful treatment, you need to know how to keep the infections out of your home. First, regularly disinfect all wet areas in your house by either using bleach or disinfectant. Then avoid sharing items like towels and shaving equipment. The reason being, these items are not washed after every use, giving fungi an opportunity to hold on as they wait for the next victim.

Fungi thrive in warm and humid areas, so people in those areas might end up reporting more infections than in colder regions. In the end, what you do after noticing the disease is what matters. You can choose to treat ringworm naturally during the early stages or follow the conventional medicinal route if it advances.

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