Ringworm is an infectious, fungal infection of the skin that occurs when Tinea, which is a common type of fungus, begins to grow on the skin. This condition can be caught from other people, animals or even from exposure to damp surfaces and locations that attract fungus.
Despite the name, ringworm isn’t actually caused by a worm. It is simply a rash that appears as a result of the fungus growing and the skin and is often circular in appearance. Jock itch is a specific form of this ringworm that affects the groin area, often in men.
In some cases when this condition is diagnosed, ringworm won’t go away, even after over-the-counter treatments or care. In these cases, consulting with a medical professional such as a doctor or dermatologist is important.
To understand why ringworm won’t go away, it’s important to be able to ensure a skin condition is, in fact, a fungal infection like ringworm before beginning treatment. The appearance of ringworm on the skin can be as follows:
In addition, ringworm in the nails may appear as cracked, thicker and discoloured nail beds and surfaces. In conditions like jock itch, seeing the symptoms of ringworm effectively can be challenging, as visiting a doctor may be essential for a proper diagnosis.
If ringworm won’t go away, this could be because you have a different condition as well as or instead of this fungal condition, resulting in treatment not working. The tinea fungus can apply to all of the following conditions:
There are a variety of different reasons why Ringworm won’t go away. The most primary of this is repeated exposure, which means that each time the condition is treated, it is then reoccurring due to the person still coming into contact with the fungus on a regular basis.
Examples of this are those who are often barefoot in showers or locker rooms due to sporting commitment or requirements, though there are ways to avoid continual infection of this condition by taking extra precautions, including wearing shower shoes or flip-flops.
Improper cleaning and hygiene can also be a big cause of why ringworm won’t go away, as these practices encourage the fungus to reoccur numerous times. This includes not drying off properly after a shower or in the swimming pool or having abrasions or cuts when entering an area at high risk of fungal infection.
Reoccurrence of ringworm can also be caused by using items that have already been infected with the fungus based on the previous diagnosis but have not been decontaminated. This includes continuing to use a hairbrush or wearing clothing that has not been washed following the contraction of this condition. A fungus can live on items for a long time.
Failure to treat the underlying location of ringworm can also result in the condition not going away. In this case, it is because one area of skin is being treated for the condition but an additional affected area is not. It’s important to take the broadest possible form of medication if you’re repeatedly contracting this condition, as it is likely some of the fungus is being missed.
A doctor will be able to check your body for signs of fungal infection by using a black light on affected areas, as fungus fluoresces under these conditions. A biopsy or culture taken from that area can be used to prescribe the best course of treatment for your particular condition.
Treatment for ringworm is primarily topical medications including antifungal lotions, creams, gels and even sprays. Many of these medications can be bought at drug stores or over the counter, though stronger versions must be prescribed by a doctor. Antifungal creams that may be used include:
In extreme cases prescribed topical medications may not provide the strength of care and medication needed to prevent ringworm from returning. If ringworm doesn’t clear after four weeks, return to a doctor for advice. It is likely you will be prescribed oral antifungal medications that are stronger than topical creams.
If ringworm continues to persist or won’t go away, it’s important to also look at ways that you can protect yourself from a repeated reoccurrence of the condition in your household and day to day life. The following care can be performed to limit your exposure to the condition, as well as prevent existing fungal infection from spreading:
Following these prevention techniques will avoid situations where ringworm won't go away, and prevent reinfection on a repeated basis.