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What is Ringworm – Causes and Symptoms

Ringworm, technically known as dermatophytosis, is a fungal infection caused on the skin of humans. The fungi causing this infection feed on the tissues of the upper layer on the skin, nails and hair. According to an estimation, 20 percent of the population is affected with this infection. It is a common infection in sport-persons. This article tries to understand the causes and symptoms of this skin condition.

Causes of Ringworm or Dermatophytosis:

Moist Condition:The fungi which causes ringworm thrives in moist conditions and warm areas like skin folds, locker rooms, tanning beds and swimming pools. The disease is contagious and can affect any organ of the body. Children with an active life style are also easily affected by this skin infection. Sweat can cause the skin to be moist making it vulnerable to attacks of fungi.

Contaminated Things: Hairbrushes, shoes, socks and slippers are some of the contaminated items which cause this disease when the skin comes in contact with them.

Other Skin Diseases: People already suffering from skin diseases like eczema are more prone to this infection.

Chicken: Chicken usually stays in moist and dirty locations and serves as a host of this disease.

Types of Fungi: There are several types of fungi causing ringworm and affecting specific locations of the body. For instance, Tinea pedis is a type of ringworm affecting the feet making it itchy. Tinea unguinum is another type of fungi affecting the fingernails and the toenails. Tinea corposis fungi causes itching in the arms, trunk and legs. Tinea crusis or jock itch affects the groin area. Tinea manatum attacks the palms and the hands. Tinea capitis, mistaken mostly to be dandruff, attacks the scalp.

Symptoms of Ringworm or Dermatophytosis:

  • Ring-like raised itchy patches
  • Scabs
  • Blisters
  • Brittle nails
  • Temporary scalp hair loss
  • Green nails
  • Thickening nails
  • Grey nails
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Groin jork itch

The prevalence of this disease varies from one season to another. In summer, the infection is worse. However, in winter the signs are found to be more pronounced. This disease also affects cats and dogs. These animals can turn host of this disease spreading it among humans.

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