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Ringworm
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Ringworm of the body

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Fungal

Ringworm of the body is one of several forms of ringworm, a fungal infection that develops on the top layer of your skin. Ringworm on the body is usually found on the face or neck, but can be anywhere on the body. It's characterized by an itchy, red circle of rash with healthy looking skin in the middle.

Also called tinea corporis, ringworm of the body is closely related to other skin conditions with similar names. Tinea is a type of fungus, and corporis is the Latin word for "body." Other common tinea infections include:

  • Athlete's foot (tinea pedis). This form affects the moist areas between your toes and sometimes on your foot itself.
  • Jock itch (tinea cruris). This form affects your genitals, inner thighs and buttocks.
  • Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis). This form is most common in children and involves red, itchy patches on the scalp, leaving bald patches.

Tinea corporis affects your arms, legs, trunk and face. Ringworm gets its name from the characteristic ring that can appear, but it has nothing to do with a worm under your skin.

Although unsightly, ringworm usually isn't serious, except potentially for people with weak immune systems. Treatment usually consists of antifungal medications that you apply to your skin.

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Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of ringworm include:

  • A circle of rash on your skin that's red and inflamed around the edge and healthy looking in the middle

  • Slightly raised expanding rings of red, scaly skin on your trunk or face

  • A round, flat patch of itchy skin

More than one patch of ringworm may appear on your skin, and patches or red rings of rash may overlap. You can have ringworm without having the common red ring of rash.

Causes

Normally, it takes about a month for new skin cells to move from the lowest layer of your skin, where they form, to the outermost layer, where they die and scale off in flakes.

Fungal infections, such as ringworm, are caused by microorganisms that become parasites on your body. These mold-like fungi (dermatophytes) live on dead cells in the outer layer of your skin.

Ringworm is contagious and can be spread in the following ways:

  • Human-to-human. Ringworm often spreads by direct, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

  • Animal-to-human. You can contract ringworm by touching an animal with ringworm. Ringworm can spread while petting or grooming dogs or cats. You can also get ringworm from cows, goats, pigs and horses.

  • Object-to-human. Ringworm can spread by contact with objects or surfaces that an infected person or animal has touched, such as clothing, towels, bed linens, combs or brushes.

  • Soil-to-human. In rare cases, ringworm can be spread to humans by contact with infected soil. If sufficient nutrients are present in the soil, the fungus that causes ringworm may live for months or longer. Infection would most likely occur only from prolonged contact with highly infected soil.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:05 AM