What is Ringworm?
Ringworm, known medically as tinea corporis, is a fungal infection of the skin. It is also known as a ringworm rash since, as you can see, the rash is circle-shaped and bumpy making it look like a circular worm is under the surface of the skin. Sometimes, the ring infection is associated with scaly patches.
Quickcare or ER?
All sub-types of ringworm should be seen in the clinic during normal business hours.
Red Flags that will send you to the ER:
- Severe swelling
- Gross discharge (pus)
What will the doctor ask?
What are your symptoms? Remember, a symptom is your description of your condition to your doctor. It is your story.
Answering the following questions will help your doctor understand.
- When did it start? Where (what part of the body) did it start?
- What makes it better?
- What makes it worse?
- Where did it start?
- Does it itch or hurt?
- Is there any discharge (pus) associated with it?
What will the doctor look for?
Your doctor will look for signs. A sign is an objective finding that a doctor sees on examination.
I was once told that I needed to know a rash so well that I could describe it over the phone.
- What is the shape?
- What is the color?
- Is it flat or raised?
- Is it dry or moist?
- Is it blanchable? That is, does it disappear when it is pressed?
What is the doctor thinking?
Your doctor will come up with a mental list of possible reasons for your signs and symptoms. This list is called a differential diagnosis.
Rashes can be difficult.
Sometimes they come from the inside. That is when a reaction is happening inside the body causing a rash (autoimmune). Examples are psoriasis and Lupus.
The outside world can make the skin react also.
For example, bacteria can cause a type of rash called a cellulitis.
Chemicals can cause dermatitis.
Plants such as poison oak are notorious for causing contact dermatitis.
A fungus causes tinea corporis (ring worm).
What is the treatment of ringworm?
To treat ringworm, I usually start my patients with a topical anti-fungal cream such as Lotrisone. I use this since it is a combination two things- an antifungal and a steroid cream. The steroid will help with the itchiness and swelling. It is to be applied twice a day.
If that does not work, then anti-fungal pills such as ketoconazole may be prescribed.
How long will you be sick?
If the fungus is treated with anti-fungal creams, Tinea (ringworm) tends to go away within a week or two.
If it does not go away or if there is a spread of ringworm, your doctor may use the ketoconazole.
Let me tell you a story
Donna is the epitome of corporate America. She wears power suits every day. Everything was ironed to perfection. The term “Dress Down Friday” did not apply to her. She only drives the Jag to work. God help her if she was seen taking public transportation. Her circle of friends were the richest of the rich.
A clean desk. Immaculate home. She created a world that was so sterile.
Her perfect little body was sculpted with the help of her personal trainer…and a few “nips and tucks.”
She just had one flaw. She could not get rid of a nasty rash. It has been an ugly nuisance for years. Doctors gave a shot of this and a pill for that. Blood work revealed nothing. Year by year, it kept spreading from her hands, to her legs and back up to her arms. She once had scalp ringworm.
It never itched or caused pain. There was no discharge. It was a red, circular-shaped raised dry rash on her arms and legs. When pressed, it was not blanchable.When I told her it was a fungus, she didn’t believe me
A fungus on Donna? And spreading? She thought this was a disease of poor dirty children.
How can she possibly bring this up at her next Master Mind Conference?
After one week of anti-fungal creams and a dose of ketoconazole, her perfect world was maintained. All was at it should be.
I hope this helps