What is Ringworm?
Ringworm refers to a common fungal infection that affects the skin, nails and scalp. Although the name may be misleading, it is not a worm at all. One of the distinguishing features of ringworms is patches of red rings which appear on the skin. These rings look like bumpy, scaly borders with white centers which may look like blisters. The centers usually heal over time and become hard and crusty, but the outer edges become inflamed and spread outwards.
There are different types of ringworm which include body ringworm, scalp ringworm, ringworm of the groin and nails:
Body ringworm (tinea corporis) causes flaky sores that can be dry and scaly or moist or crusty. It affects any part of the body except the scalp, beard area and the feet.
Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) also known as tinea capitis causes scaly, swollen blisters or resembles a rash that looks like black dots. This type of ringworm may become inflamed and filled with pus. Sometimes flaky, round bald patches may develop. Scarring and permanent hair loss may also occur. Scalp ringworm tends to affect children more often.
Ringworm of the groin (tinea cruris) also referred to as tinea cruris or jock itch may spread to the inner thighs, external genitalia and buttocks. It is characterized by raised red sores with well-defined edges.
Ringworm of the nails (tinea unguium) also known as tinea unguium is not as common as the other types of ringworm. This type of ringworm develops at the tip of the toenail, gradually becoming thicker and discolored. Eventually, it may begin to die off and pull away from the nail bed.
Ringworm of the feet (tinea pedis) also known as tinea pedis or athlete’s foot looks like a rash of scaly, red patches which are usually found between a person’s toes. The skin usually becomes scaly, peels or cracks between the toes or on the sole or heel of the foot. In severe cases, the toenails may become infected, thicken, crumble and even fall out. Blisters between the toes, on the heel or on the sole of the foot may also occur.