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Ringworm – causes, prevention and treatment

Contrary to what many people believe, ringworm is not a problem that only affects the nails. It can also affect the skin and hair, especially in hotter times like summer. Know everything you need to know about it to avoid it and treat it correctly.

Which is?

Ringworm is an infection caused by different types of fungi, microorganisms that have existed in nature for millions of years and are in practically all environments, developing more easily in hot and humid places. They are in permanent contact with the surface layer of our skin, and live in balance with our body, but when they manage to penetrate our body, they cause an infection, ringworm.

Mycoses develop most often on the nails, skin and scalp, areas where there is a greater amount of keratin, food for the fungus. In addition to these places, they can also develop in parts of the body such as the groin, hands, feet, trunk and limbs, neck, genitals and mucous membranes.

In addition to discomfort, ringworm also causes aesthetic changes and facilitates the entry of bacteria and viruses into the body.

What are the symptoms?

The signs of ringworm are uncomfortable and vary depending on the type and extent of the problem. The most common symptoms are itching, changes in the skin with the appearance of red spots and scaling, fissures and cracks between the toes and deformed and painful spots on the nails.

The so-called white cloth may appear on the skin, characterized by white spots and scaling on the trunk, chest and back, the chilblains or athlete’s foot, which cause itching, redness and painful cracks between the toes and red spots on the body folds such as armpits and groin. In the nails, mycosis makes them thicker, brittle and whitish. On the scalp there may be small lesions, scaling and itching.

How does contamination occur?

Environments with humidity and heat are ideal for the development and reproduction of fungi. Therefore, the beach, swimming pool, sauna, bathrooms and changing rooms are among the places that most favor contamination. This is because moisture makes the skin thinner, therefore more susceptible to fungal penetration. Therefore, when frequenting these places, redouble your attention.

How to prevent yourself?

The best way to prevent mycoses is to keep personal hygiene up to date. Avoid lending your personal objects such as towel, slippers, clothes, shoes and hairbrush, which can be a channel of contamination if shared by contaminated people.

Avoid going barefoot, dry your body well, especially between the toes, below the breasts, in the armpits and groin and don’t keep wet clothes for a long time, if you sweat a lot, always have a spare piece.

Have your own nail kit with nail pliers, scissors and files, and always keep them sterile. In the salon, make sure that the manicurists carry out the procedure correctly.

Pets can also transmit mycoses, so at any sign of hair change or flaking, look for the vet.

Avoid wearing clothes and shoes that are too tight and, whenever possible, prefer cotton socks and t-shirts.

At home, keep the environments always clean and dry to avoid the proliferation of fungi.

At any sign of mycosis, look for a doctor to make the diagnosis and indicate the best treatment.

How to treat?

The treatment of ringworm also depends on the type of fungus, the extent and the affected region. Nowadays, there are quite efficient options to eliminate the problem quickly. Skin mycoses, for example, can be treated in a period ranging from 1 to 4 weeks, while nail mycoses take a little longer to be treated, and can take up to six months.

After the medical diagnosis, topical medicines, ointments and sprays are prescribed, but in more complex situations, oral medicines must be administered.

In case of suspected ringworm, avoid self-medication, only a health professional can diagnose the exact problem, as some infections caused by bacteria can have symptoms similar to ringworm.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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