What is ringworm?
Ringworm (also called serpigo) is an infection of the skin, characterized by a reddish to brownish raised or bumpy patch of skin that may be lighter in the center, giving the appearance of a “ring.” It can exist anywhere on the body. Depending on its location, it is also known as tinea pedis or “athlete’s foot” when on the feet, tinea cruris or “jock itch” when on the groin area, tinea corporis when on the body, where it is most commonly referred to as ringworm, or tinea capitis when on the scalp.] Contrary to its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm but by parasitic fungi (Dermatophytosis).
Who is at risk?
Anyone can get Ringworm. Scalp Ringworm often strikes young children; outbreaks have been recognized in schools, day-care centers, and infant nurseries. School athletes are at risk for scalp Ringworm, Ringworm of the body, and foot Ringworm; there have been outbreaks among high school wrestling teams. Children with young pets are at increased risk for Ringworm of the body. In the past, there have been numerous cases of ringworm outbreak among athletes, wrestlers in particular, in different schools in the country. This is because wrestlers are not only prone to excessive sweating, but also have frequent skin-to-skin contact with potentially infected individuals, in the course of practice and during competitions. Moreover, they are constantly exposed to the risk areas mentioned above where ringworm-causing fungi thrive.
Other factors that increase the risk of ringworm include:
- Small skin or scalp injuries
- Ongoing wetness of the scalp, such as from sweating
- Poor hygiene
- Overcrowded living conditions
Ringworm Advice for Athletes and Parents (Killing Ringworm)
How do I protect myself from getting Ringworm and other skin infections?
Practice good personal hygiene
Keep your hands clean by washing frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand and body rub.
- Do not share clothing, towels, or headgear (particularly hats, combs or brushes). Because children are often carriers of ringworm of the scalp, they should always have combs and brushes separate from other family members.
- When you’re at home, take your shoes off and expose your feet to the air.
- Keep your skin clean and dry. Dry your feet carefully (especially between the toes) after using a locker room or public shower.
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