About 20% of the people will get ringworm at one point in their lives. It is an extremely infectious fungal problem that thrives in the summer. The symptoms of this problem vary depending on where the infection is. Often, it causes circular rashes with raised, red edges and healthy skin in the middle. The infection can also appear on the groin (as jock itch), on the nails, on the feet (as athlete’s foot), and on the scalp. Some of these infections are harder to treat than others, but good hygiene and ringworm creams can cure most of them.
Topical anti-fungal treatments can be found over-the-counter. Your doctor can prescribe stronger variants. In cases wherein the ringworm is particularly severe, which is often the case with infections of the scalp or nails, oral medication may be prescribed.
To make sure that the ringworm infection is completely cured, you must learn how to apply the treatment properly. Most of the anti-fungal creams have instructions included, but here are some basic steps that will help you.
1. Buy the right kind of anti-fungal cream. Some of them are formulated to help you with all kinds of fungus, while others were created for specific strains. Make sure that the kind you are buying is effective against ringworm. These often have ingredients like Miconazole, Clotrimazole, Ketoconazole, Terbinafine and Clotrimazole with Betamethasone.
2. Find out how often you should use the ringworm cream. Most over-the-counter treatments should be used twice a day, while others specify that it should be applies in the morning and in the evening. Stronger kinds may only need to be used once a day. The package of the cream contains this information, or it may be included in your prescription. This depends on how strong the formulation of the cream is, and it is very important to prevent side effects and cure the problem.
3. Clean the infected area. Some people cover the infected area with bandages and gauze to prevent spreading the ringworm. If you do so, remove any covering and wash the rash with soap and water. Afterwards, pat it dry so that the cream can be absorbed properly. This step ensures that the treatment gets in contact with the fungus, and is not contaminated with dirt and sweat.
4. Wash your hands before and after applying the cream. Again, this makes sure that you apply the cream without any contaminants.
5. Apply a thin layer of the ringworm cream on the infected area and surrounding areas to prevent the rash from growing. What looks like healthy skin may already be infected, and just asymptomatic. The cream should extend beyond the rash by about four to six centimeters in diameter.
6. Allow the cream to dry so that the cream is fully absorbed. Do not cover the area if the cream is still moist. If you use a bandage, make sure it is clean and dry because the fungi thrive in warm, wet places.
7. Repeat this treatment as often as prescribed. Most over-the-counter products should be used for two to four weeks, while prescription medication may have shorter cycles.
8. Even if the symptoms already disappeared, keep using the product for at least a week after. If no visible change has happened after a week of treatment, it would be best to consult a doctor. In case of allergic reactions, such as excessive redness, itchiness, or burning, stop treatment and talk to a doctor.
While undergoing treatment, make sure to prevent spreading the infection to other parts of the body. Wash clothes and beddings in a bleach solution. If possible, try to trace where the infection came from. This is commonly common showers and bathrooms, the beach, public pool, or the gym.
Try to change your routine to prevent getting the ringworm again. Wear shoes or flip-flops in communal showers, bathrooms, and on the beach. If you use gym equipment with padding, make sure it is dry and free of others’ sweat before using. Refrain from borrowing other people’s clothes and always wash clothes you just bought.