Ringworm is an infection that affects the dead part of the skin, the hair and nails; our skin has two main parts; the dead outer part (without blood and nerves) and the inner part which is alive (with blood and nerves),
It could appear as a reddish rash that expands to a scaly red patch with a ring appearance, when it affects the hair, it breaks leading to hair loss; on the scalp there could be several ringed patches. When the feet are affected, it is located between the toes appearing whitish and very itchy.
If the nails are affected, they are discolored, thickened and then tend to crumble.
Ringworm is caused by a mould-like germ called fungus. There are many types of fungi, the group that causes ringworm is called Trichophyton; there are many species of this fungus but Trichophyton rubrum is the commonest.
Ringworm spreads through contact with infected person or animal; it can also spread through the use of infected articles such as combs, brushes, couches, caps/hats, and sheets.
Spread can also occur through floors of swimming pools/bath and air in hospitals/clinics that have the fungus.
1. Personal Hygiene
Proper personal hygiene is key in the prevention of ringworm infection, take your bath daily and always dry your body with clean towels, wash your hands with soap and water after touching animals or those with ringworm infection, change clothes regularly, wash bed sheets regularly and iron them before spreading,
2. Proper sanitation.
Ringworm infection is common in crowded poorly ventilated houses. Keep the house clean and well ventilated, if a common bath room is used in the house, the floor must be washed regularly and disinfected to minimize the spread of fungal infections such as Athlete’s foot.
3. Non-share of personal items
Personal items such as combs, brushes, towels, and clothes should not be shared especially with infected persons.
4. Foot care
To reduce the infection of Athlete’s foot, dry your feet regularly especially in-between the toes, change your stockings regularly, possibly daily, and free your feet as much as possible. Use slippers and open shoes. If you already have the infection (athlete’s foot), then walk around the house with bare feet.
5. Screening of siblings
If a child in the house has ringworm, all the siblings must be thoroughly screened and also the other residents of the house. Treatment should be instituted immediately.
6. Early treatment
Ringworm infection can easily be treated and cured; all those infected should see the doctor as soon as possible for proper treatment.
7. Suitable Dressing
Suitable clothing helps in a large measure in the prevention of ringworm especially the ringworm affecting the groins and the upper thighs. Use under wears (pants and singlets) made of cotton materials in hot and wet climate like in Nigeria, for proper aeration.