(Medical Name: Tinea corporis)
This is an infective condition of the skin that is caused by fungus which has tendency to grow fast in the hot, humid regions of the body.
1. Ring worm infection affects people of all age groups and has a worldwide distribution.
2. It is contagious as it can easily spread from one person to another. It can also spread by contact through infected animals and soil.
3. Once acquired by a person, the same individual can become source of auto infection to other body areas, nails as well as hairs.
4. It is commoner in tropical regions (hot and humid environment), the obese, diabetics, persons on medications that lower one’s resistance to infections (like steroids, anticancer treatment, debilitating conditions), and those living under unhygienic conditions.
5. It is possible to prevent infection from spreading. There are several measures that help in early recovery and that can be performed at an individual level.
Prevention and Coping with Ringworm infections
1. Please be careful if you fall in one of the following categories:
- Hot and humid climate or working conditions (athletes, sportspersons, laundry workers, agriculture, animal handling, gardening, working near furnaces, swimming pool staff, sewer workers, cooking and dishwashing)
- Treatment with medication that alters normal flora of body like antibiotics or
2. If you are obese or overweight, give need to give a serious thought to weight control. If you are on medication that lowers body resistance, please consult your treating physician. In some occupational cases where the infections are recurrent, it may be advisable to change the profession.
3. One needs to inculcate the habits of thorough cleaning and drying of infection prone areas during and after every bath and immersion of the part in water. Pay more attention to areas of the body that are at risk of fungal infection and treat the same. The commonly affected areas are the groins, in between the toes and fingers, sides and under the nail plates, between the buttocks, under breast, and in the armpits.
4. The undergarments that one wears should be well fitting but not too tight. These should allow ventilation of air. If the said areas tend to sweat profusely, one needs to dry the area several times a day with a gauze pieces or absorbent tissue paper. If needed, a hair dryer at cold setting or fan can be employed until the area becomes dry while you get ready after the bath.
5. Abstain from heavy exercise or strenuous work to minimize sweating.
6. Stay and work in a well ventilated area. You can keep the kitchen windows open while working or use an exhaust fan, if local conditions permit the same.
7. Break your jogging and intense physical activities into short spells.
8. Stay away from foods and drinks that promote profuse sweating (beverages, spices)
9. Avoid working outdoors during midday as far as possible.
10. While sitting, use a chair that permits evaporation of sweat from areas where the sweat tends to get pooled (for example, on the buttocks and the back). Cane or wooden chairs are better than the rexine/ leather chairs for this purpose.
11. While sitting, one can position the legs slightly apart from the groin area downwards rather than sitting cross-legged.
12. If ever you get the infection, do not use medicines of your own. Some of the preparations that are advertised on the mass media may actually do more harm than good.
13. If you are already on medication, all the measures listed above after consulting your physician to enhance the effect of treatment and take regular medication in the exact manner as prescribed by your attending physician. Please do not use powders or other agents unless specifically recommended. It is possible to be misled by the visible improvement even while the infection is still active in deeper layers of the skin.
14. Ring worm infections are both preventable and curable. There is so much that you can do yourself and prevent these infections.
You are permitted to share, distribute, print, or reproduce this article for private use with proper citation of the source. The article is a part of our service to fellow human beings as a means of health education and awareness enhancement to minimize dependence on healthcare
Dr Vinay Kumar
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
+91-93 199 299 00
(More articles available on the website)
Suggestions, Queries, and Comments are welcome