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Common Hair Problems – Ringworm can cause Hair Loss; Cures for Ringworm Infection

Ringworm is a contagious fungus infection. It can affect the scalp, body, feet (athlete's foot), or nails. Inspite of its name, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. The name is derived from the characteristic red ring that appears on the infected person's skin. Ringworm is widespread around the world and in America. The fungus that causes scalp ringworm inhabits humans, animals, and soil. The fungi that cause foot ringworm and ringworm of the nails are only found in humans.

Anyone can contract Ringworm. Most often scalp ringworm strikes small children. Outbreaks have been seen in schools, day-care centers, and infant nurseries. School athletes stand the risk of contracting scalp ringworm, ringworm of the body, and foot ringworm. There have even been outbreaks among high school wrestling teams. Above all, kids with young pets are at increased risk for ringworm of the body.
Causes of Ringworm

Ringworm can be caused by many different fungus organisms. All belong to a group called dermatophytes that affect different parts of the body causing the various types of Ringworm of the:

  • Body

  • Foot (athlete's foot)

  • Nails

  • Scalp

Ringworm either spreads by direct or indirect contact. You can contract Ringworm by direct contact with an infected person or pet. You can also contract Ringworm indirectly through contact with objects or surfaces that an infected individual or pet has touched. This includes hats, combs, brushes, bed linens, stuffed animals, telephones, gym mats, or shower stalls. In some cases ringworm can also spreads by contact with soil.

Signs and symptoms of Ringworm

Ringworm of the scalp usually starts as a small pimple. Gradually, it grows larger and leaves scaly patches of temporary baldness. The infected hairs get brittle and easily break off; sometimes even yellowish crusty areas develop.

Ringworm of the body usually turns up as a flat, round patch anywhere on the skin except for the scalp and feet. A common area of infection is the groin (groin ringworm). Gradually, as the rash expands, its center clears and produces a ring. More than one patch may appear with the patches can overlapping. Sometimes the areas can be itchy.

Also called athlete's foot, ringworm of the foot appears as a scaling or cracking of the skin, particularly between the toes. Nail ringworm causes the affected nails to get thicker, discolored, and brittle, or become chalky and disintegrate.

Treatment of Ringworm

Ringworm can be treated with fungus-killing medication that can be in taken in tablet or liquid form orally or as a cream applied directly to the affected area. Even though the infection may go away without treatment, some ringworm calls for antifungal medicines to be applied as cream to the lesions. Apply antifungal creams to the lesion itself and 1 inch beyond its border twice daily for at least 2 weeks, and a week after it disappears. Keep the infected area clean and dry. OTC medicines available at the drug store include miconazole 2% (with brand names such as Monistat and Micatin) or clotrimazole 1% (with brand names such as Lotrimin and Mycelex).