RINGWORM: DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT & PROGNOSIS
HOW IS RINGWORM DIAGNOSED?
A dermatologist can easily tell if you have ringworm by merely looking at the infected area. Your dermatologist may also proceed to examine other body areas.
It’s common to get infected with athlete’s foot and ringworm on both feet and hands. The infection can also spread to the nails.
Before confirming the diagnosis, your dermatologist will send a piece of the infected skin, nail, or hair to a laboratory for testing. Obtaining a sample is quite easy. Expect your dermatologist to scrape off a piece of the infected skin, or hair on your hair if you have ringworms on your scalp or beard area. By viewing the sample under a microscope, the dermatologist can identify if it houses the fungi that cause ringworm.
HOW IS RINGWORM TREATED?
If you have been diagnosed with ringworm, your dermatologist will prescribe an antifungal medicine to treat it. This antifungal medicine comes in many forms such as creams, pills & ointments. The type of medication you will use will be dependent on the areas of the body that are being affected.
Skin: An antifungal ointment/cream will clear the ringworm on the skin. You should apply it two times daily for the duration of 2 to 4 weeks. Many of these antifungal medicines are safe to use and very effective. If the ringworm affects a large area of the skin, you would need to use a prescribed antifungal medicine. When the ringworm begins to clear, you will see scales clear before redness.
Athlete’s foot: An antifungal spray or topical cream that can be gotten over the counter will effectively clear the athlete’s foot. A mild case of ringworm usually clears up within 2 weeks.
If the athlete’s foot is severe in nature or fails to clear up in 2 weeks, a dermatologist can prescribe a more effective antifungal medicine.
Jock itch: Your dermatologist may ask you to use an antifungal cream, spray, or powder that you can get over the counter. You should apply the antifungal cream two times daily for 10 to 14 days.
You can treat the intense itch by applying a wet washcloth on the affected area for about 20 to 30 minutes. You may have to do this 2 to 6 times a day.
Scalp: You need to use prescribed antifungal medications to treat the ringworm affecting the scalp. Children who develop ringworm often receive a medicine called griseofulvin (griz-e-oh-full-vin). Your dermatologist will prescribe antifungal medications in form of tablets, capsules, or liquid. The antifungal shampoo will also be effective in the treatment of scalp ringworm.
Hands: An antifungal cream will be effective for mild cases. Antifungal medicines with stronger concentration like terbinafine or itraconazole may be needed for treatment.
Nails: You will need prescribed medications to clear up ringworm from the affected nails. You may also have to observe preventive measures to avoid a re-infection.
Beard: You need prescription antifungal medicine and a properly mapped out treatment plan. Your dermatologist will need to scrape off the unhealthy tissues to aid healing. You’ll also have to shave the beards.
WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS OF RINGWORM?
Antifungal medicines can effectively clear up ringworm patches from every area of the body. Healing takes a longer time in the nails and the hands. It is also important to adhere strictly to your dermatologist’s treatment plan and keep up with all the follow-up appointments.