Ringworm is a type of fungal infection. If you’re wondering that it occurs from a worm or not, no it doesn’t. It happens due to a highly contagious fungus called Tinea. Ringworms can happen to anyone irrespective of age and gender. People with low immunity levels like children and the elderly have more chances to have ringworm. Here, we will discuss the home remedies for ringworm to cure the disease if you ever have it.
The common symptoms of ringworms are scabby, red circular or ring-like patches on nails or skin. It can be visible on any of your body parts but, mostly seen on arms or scalp. Apart from regular people who can have ringworms, athletes are pretty susceptible to such infections.
Causes and risks of ringworms
Most ringworm sores are caused when you come in contact with people having the infection. They are called human dermatophytes and is highly contagious. However, one can also procure ringworms through animals (mostly domestic pets) or even from the soil.
Some of the risk factors to develop ringworms are:
- Coming into close contact with animals or pets that have ringworm
- Coming in contact with soil
- Living in a humid and warm climate
- People who have immunity issues, AIDs/HIV, diabetes, cancer, and under medication can have ringworms
- Athletes coming in direct contact physically in sports like wrestling
- Tight-fitting clothes causing sweat
- Using common locker rooms or public washrooms
- Exchanging towels, clothing or bedding with an infected person
Is Ringworm Contagious?
Ringworms are extremely contagious and transmitted from one person to the other. This can be communicated by bed-linens, towels or even clothing. Domestic pets can also cause ringworms to humans. You can limit the spread of ringworms by:
- Not touching suspicious surfaces
- Ensuring proper hygiene in the house of an infected person, by regularly laundering clothes and linens separately
- Keeping body and hands clean
- If you are into sports like wrestling, avoid playing unless you have treated your sores
- If your pets have ringworms, immediately take them to the veterinarian. Also, maintain proper hygiene within the house and wash your hands at regular intervals.
Symptoms of ringworm on a human body
The term ringworm comes from the ring-like feature of what the infection looks like. It is a growing worm-like ring that appears on the surface of the skin. The core of the ring is clear. While the sore is fluid-like and feels scaly. It gives you a sense of pain and itchiness.
The diameter of a lesion (medically called for any abnormity like a sore) is about two inches or around 5 cms. It appears as a rash on the skin in a group of three or four – sometimes alone. The sores usually occur on the legs, arms, face or neck.
Some other indications of ringworms occurring in a body are:
- itchy skin
- loss of hair
- patches of cracks, scaliness, and red skin
Signs of ringworm
- Ringworm in the bearded: this is also called tinea barbae. Have symptoms like red spots on the cheeks, chin or upper neck which are red and itchy. Even hair loss occurs.
- Ringworm on the scalp: this is also called tinea capitis. They grow in circular bald spots which can be red, scaly, crusty and itchy. They can spread to multiple areas making your hair brittle and dry. The condition mostly happens to children.
- Ringworm in the groin: this is also called tinea cruris or jock itch. These come with red spots on the inner thighs which feel itchy and scaly.
- Ringworm in the feet: this is called tinea pedis or athlete’s foot. These appear mostly between the toes or even soles of the feet. They have symptoms of red, itchy, swollen and peeling skin. In acute cases, blisters may appear on the skin as well.
When to seek medical help?
You can always try the non-prescription anti-fungal medications which are usually used for an athlete’s foot. If you see that the medication does not work even after a week. Call a doctor.
The doctor will first examine to confirm a ringworm infection. Further, he will give you a proper course of treatment. A thorough diagnosis by a physician is extremely important. This is because, many times, ringworm resembles a lot like psoriasis or eczema.
Ringworms are not of medical emergencies. However, things will be different when someone has a high temperature, increased swelling, pain, redness or discharge. Visit a hospital immediately in such cases. These can be symptoms of a secondary bacterial infection.
How do Specialists Treat Ringworm on your Body?
Any general practitioner like an intern, family member or child pediatrician could treat ringworm. You can also consult a dermatologist for accurate care. If you experience an infection associated with ringworm, you might need an emergency-medicine specialist as well.
How doctors diagnose ringworm
A dermatologist clinically examines a ringworm before any treatment. To examine a doctor will use a scalpel scrap to activate the border of the lesion. He will place the scrapings on a glass slide to check the sample under a microscope. Note that you will need this treatment only when ointments and medicines don’t work.
Medications for ringworm
Many ringworm infections disappear without any treatments. Home remedies for ringworm are natural and effective. But before that, let us see some other antifungal medicines like ointments that can help this treatment.
The antifungal ointment needs to be applied to the lesion and 1inch across the border of the wound. You have to apply it twice a day till it cures completely. Always keep the infected area dry and clean. The chemical compositions you should look for while buying an unprescribed ointment are:
- Clotrimazole1% (Mycelex and Lotrimin AF Cream)
- Butenafine 1% (Mentax and Lotrimin Ultra)
- Terbinafine1% (Lamisil AT)
- Miconazole 2% (LotriminAF Powder, Monistat-Derm, Lotrimin AF Liquid Spray, Micatin and Lotrimin AF Powder Spray)
The medications used for fungal infections like yeast infections or diaper rash are ineffective on ringworms. You can treat ringworms like tinea capitis (which appears on the scalp) with shampoos that have ketoconazole, selenium sulfide (1%-2.5%) or zinc pyrithione. For example, Shampoos Nizoral, Selsun Blue or Head & Shoulders Intensive include such chemicals.
Home remedies for ringworm
There are plenty of home remedies for ringworm and all of them are useful. Scroll down to check what the natural remedies for ringworm are:
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar includes antifungal properties that help cure ringworms. The effectiveness takes longer than medications, but it works. To use ACV, you need to soak a cotton pad into undiluted apple cider vinegar and gently wipe the area. Repeat the process 3 times every day to see cured results.
Turmeric is a commonly used spice that has anti-inflammatory properties. A specific component in turmeric is curcumin which is beneficial for human health. Detailed studies have proven turmeric to have extensively high antimicrobial abilities and can be used as a natural remedy for ringworms.
Consumption of turmeric in food or as a beverage like tea can help you treat ringworms. You can also make a paste and mix it with coconut oil and apply it externally to the affected area. Let it dry and then wipe it off.
Keep in mind, that turmeric may leave a stain of yellow color to people with a lighter complexion. Give it a couple of days and it will fade.
The essentials of lemongrass oil have shown its effectiveness in various fungal infections. To treat ringworms with the help of lemongrass oil, you need to dilute the oil with a carrier. Apply it twice a day daily with a cotton pad.
Coconut oil contains certain amount of fatty acid that might kill fungal cells by damaging the membranes of the cell. Researchers have suggested that coconut oil is a beneficial remedy for those with mild to moderate skin infections. You could use it, by applying the oil to the lesion three times daily. Coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer to prevent any ringworm infections in the future.
Garlic is proven to be effective on various fungal infections such as Trichophyton, Candida, Torulopsis and also Cryptococcus. However, there isn’t any proof to show the effects on a ringworm infection.
To use garlic as home remedy for ringworms, you need to make a paste with the cloves of garlic and coconut or olive oil. Then wrap the area with the help of a gauze. If you see improvement, repeat it twice daily. Be cautious about the lesion to avoid swell or redness. Immediately wash it off and do not repeat.
Licorice is an herb that is used traditionally as a Chinese medicine. It has properties of being anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral. Ringworms and other fungal infections are treated at home by licorice.
To get its optimum results, you need to make a mixture of 3 tablespoons of licorice powder and a cup of water. Boil the mixture and reduce to simmer for ten minutes. Let the liquid cool down to become a paste. Apply this mixture twice daily. Let it dry off and then simply wash it off or wipe it with a soft cloth.
Grapefruit seed extract
Grapefruit seed extract has given subjective evidence that can treat fungal infections. Ringworm can be treated by making a mixture out of 1 drop of grapefruit seed extract with one tablespoon of water. Apply this to the skin twice every day.
In accordance with researchers, aloe vera has six antiseptic agents that exhibit antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activities. The gel of an aloe vera has many cooling properties that can soothe swollen or itchy skin. Apply this gel onto the ringworm three to four times daily to treat the infection.
In order to prevent the spread of ringworm to other body parts, you need to keep your skin very clean. To ensure this, you need to wash the infection with warm water and soap twice a day. Dry your skin completely because fungus thrives in areas that are moist.
Oil of oregano
People process the oil of oregano to make Wild oregano (Organum Vulgare). This consists of two very strong antifungals – carvacrol and thymol. Researches have shown a visible stoppage to a fungus infection called Candida albicans. To use the oil of oregano you need to use a carrier oil to dilute the consistency. Apply this oil three times a day to the affected area.
Note: Do not use oil oregano that contains common oregano (Organum Marjoram).
Tea tree oil
Australian natives swear by tea tree oil for decades. It has cured numerous bacterial and fungal skin infections. It has become very popular today to treat ringworms effectively.
To use it as a remedy, make a mixture with one-ounce of cold-pressed carrier oil (like coconut oil) with 12 drops of tea tree oil. You must follow this application three times a day to the infected area.
Note: People with sensitive skin should apply the oil directly to the affected area and further dilute if required.
Ringworms are a common problem for people who tend to sweat a lot. If you also sweat a lot, you need to take care of your skin and prevent such an infection. These were some of the easy home remedies for ringworm than can gradually help the condition. Make sure you follow the directions and you will cure it with time.
If you think the condition is getting worse, consult a doctor immediately. DIY the home remedies for ringworm like a first-aid, if you have it already. It will help you keep up with the pain until you reach a doctor.