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What is ringworm?
Ringworm is a fungal infection of skin (tinea corporis), hair (tinea capitis), or nails (tinea unguium). It is most common during warm weather months.
What does it look like?
On the skin it appears as a round or oval red to tan area with raised borders. It usually is one to two inches in size and can appear almost anywhere on the body. On the scalp it is oval or round and can cause scaling, pus formation, scabbing and hair loss.
How is it acquired and is it contagious (catchy)?
It is acquired through contact with fungus. Tinea can be caught through other individuals or through the environment (such as contaminated dirt or grass) and occasionally pets. Yes, it is contagious and one has to be careful and use good hygienic (hand washing) measures to prevent the spread of the infection.
What is the treatment?
Your physician will prescribe a cream for the skin infection that should be applied three times a day for several weeks. OTC medication like lotrimin and lamisil are also effective. If a scalp infection or nail infection is a problem, an oral antifungal medicine called Griseofulvin is usually prescribed. This medicine should be taken exactly as prescribed and your child will usually need to take this medicine for several weeks to months. Call your physician:
· If side effects of the oral medicine are noted such as vomiting, diarrhea or nausea.
· If the infection is not improving.
· If pus, increased redness, or the infection is spreading.