In most cases, ringworm (shingles) can be successfully treated with creams, ointments, or other over-the-counter or prescription medications that are applied directly to the rash. In some cases, an oral systemic drug is necessary. There are also natural treatments that have shown promise for treating certain types of ringworm.
Treatment for ringworm generally depends on the part of the body affected.
Ringworm that affects the feet (tinea pedis or athlete's foot) may need treatment other than, for example, ringworm that affects the scalp (tinea capitis) .
Home remedies and lifestyle
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the only way to cure ringworm is with antifungal medications. When using such a medication, whether it is a topical product that is applied directly to the skin, a tablet, or a liquid, there are steps you can take to alleviate any discomfort you experience until the medication takes effect.
It is also important to do everything you can to prevent the fungus from spreading to another part of your body or to another person. Some key tips for managing ringworm :
- To relieve itching, apply a cold compress to the uncomfortable area for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, as needed.
- Fungi love heat and humidity, so keep ringworm-affected areas clean and dry. After washing, pat the infected body part dry with a separate towel.
- As much as possible, avoid wearing clothes or shoes that cause sweating.
- Always shower after exercise to remove sweat. Dry well.
- Change your clothes every day.
- Wash anything you wear or touch with hot water before putting it on or using it again. This applies to clothing, towels, and pads.
- Do not cover ringworm with a bandage or other bandage.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching an area affected by ringworm.
- Discard all disposable items that may have been contaminated.
- Sanitize the items you want or need to keep. For example, if you find you have a fungal foot infection while wearing expensive leather dress shoes, you can use an ultraviolet (UV) shoe sanitizer or ozone cabinet, both of which can be purchased online.
- To prevent the spread of ringworm, never wear someone else's hat or cap. Make sure your child does not wear sports caps, such as helmets, with his teammates.
- Using a selenium sulfide shampoo like Selsun Blue can make your scalp less infectious.
- If you suspect that your pet has ringworm, contact your veterinarian immediately. Ringworm can be passed from one person to another. Cats are especially susceptible to infections.
In most cases of ringworm that affects the skin, over-the-counter antifungals are the first line of defense. They come in the form of creams, ointments, powders, or sprays. You are probably familiar with many of them – they are available in pharmacies, supermarkets, supermarkets, and the Internet.
Here are some examples of antifungal treatments for ringworm on the skin:
- Lotrimin Cream, Cruex Spray Powder, Mycelex, Pedesil ( Clotrimazole )
- Desenex Topical Powder, Mushroom Cream, Mykatin Cream, Athlete's Foot Spray or Lotrimin AF Powder, Lotrimin AF Jock Itch Spray Powder ( Miconazole )
- Lamisil (terbinafine)
- Xolegel (ketoconazole)
Topical antifungals often work quickly.
You will probably notice that the scaly rash will disappear before the general redness on your skin subsides, but in most cases, the ringworm on your skin disappears after a couple of weeks.
However, as with antibiotics, it is important to continue treating the area for the indicated time, even if it feels completely free of the fungus. This will help prevent the infection from coming back.
Ringworm on the scalp should be treated with oral medications (as you'll read below), but it can often help speed healing if you also use a shampoo that contains a fungal-fighting ingredient. If you have been prescribed a prescription medicine to treat ringworm on the scalp, your healthcare provider may recommend that you get an over-the-counter shampoo that contains ketoconazole, such as Nizoral. This product can generally be used every three to four days in the same way as a regular shampoo (wash, rinse and repeat) for up to eight weeks.
There are several situations and types of yeast infections that require prescription antifungal medications to treat ringworm.
- Ringworm on the skin that cannot be treated without a prescription. If ringworm persists after using topical medications all the time, see your dermatologist. A stronger prescription medicine can help. For infections that get worse or do not go away, there are topical prescription medications such as Loprox Cream (Ciclopirox), Spectazole Cream (Econazole Nitrate), and Oxistat Cream or Lotion (Oxyconazole Nitrate).
- Tinea capitas (ringworm of the scalp) or tinea barbae (ringworm of the beard). Yeast infections of the scalp should be treated with prescription antifungal medications. Examples include Grifulvin V or Gris-PEG (griseofulvin), Onmel or Sporanox (itraconazole), terbinafine, and diflucan (fluconazole). Sometimes a prescription ketoconazole shampoo is prescribed by a healthcare provider to treat persistent ringworm on the scalp. Used only once.
Doctor's Ringworm Discussion Guide
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Currently, the best way to treat most types of ringworm is with medicine. But there has been some preliminary research to suggest that there may be alternatives that, in some cases, will work for some people. Note that the options below have not been tested enough to recommend them, but if you're interested in alternatives to medications to treat ringworm infections, it wouldn't hurt to have your healthcare provider come up with these ideas to check out. if they could be an option for you. .
Tea tree oil
Some preliminary research has shown that Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil , known as tea tree oil, which is widely used in aromatherapy , can help treat ringworm that affects the feet. For example, a 2002 study published in the Australian Journal of Dermatology compared solutions containing 25% tea tree oil or 50% tea tree oil with a placebo to treat athlete's foot. The subjects applied one of the three options to the fungal infection sites twice daily for four weeks.
By the end of the study, nearly three-quarters of the people who used the 25 percent solution saw a significant improvement in their infection, and more than half of those who used the 50 percent solution improved their condition, while only 39 percent of the placebo group saw an improvement. …
Garlic, which is a natural compound extracted from garlic , shows promise for treating ringworm . For example, a 1999 study in the German journal Arzneimittel-Forschung found that a gel containing ajoene helped treat tinea cruris (athlete's itch) and tinea corporisn (ringworm of the skin).
Also, in a small study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2000, ajoene was more effective than terbinafine (which is the active ingredient in lamisil) in treating athlete's foot. For the study, the researchers divided 70 subjects into three groups. One group used a topical medication that contained 0.6 percent ajoene, a second group used 1 percent ajoene, and a third group used 1 percent terbinafine.
Frequently asked questions
Ringworm is caused by one of three types of fungi or dermatophytes : Trichopyton , Microsporum , or Epidermophyton . These organisms feed on dead keratin, a protein found in the top layer of skin, hair, and nails. Ringworm is very contagious and often occurs when someone touches another person or animal that has an infection.
Medicines you can buy without a prescription for ringworm are called antifungals. They all work by killing the spores that allow the fungi to multiply and have different compositions. The best one for you will largely depend on where the ringworm is. For example, if it is between the toes, it is easier to use an antifungal spray or powder. If you have ringworm on your scalp, over-the-counter medications are not suitable; you will need to take prescription oral medications.
It depends, among other factors, on the part of the body affected, the severity of the infection, and the type of medicine you are taking. Some people find that ringworm begins to improve after a few days, but its symptoms are more likely to disappear completely after two to four weeks if you use topical medications. Even if your symptoms go away shortly after starting treatment, it's important to keep taking the medication until your healthcare provider prescribes it, or if you're using an over-the-counter product, the label recommends.
Medicines for ringworm are very effective, but you can help them by taking certain steps:
- Keep the affected area clean, dry, and covered.
- Wash your hands immediately after touching a ringworm rash.
- Wear clean clothes every day.
- Wash any item that is being removed before putting it back on. Wash towels before reuse.
- If you sweat, take a shower or bath; use a clean towel to dry completely.
It is possible, but it will most likely take months. Ringworm fungi can live for nearly two years if kept in a warm, humid environment where they thrive. If ringworm is not treated, the skin can crack and become vulnerable to a bacterial infection , so it is best treated. And if you wait too long for ringworm to heal, it can spread and be much more difficult to treat.
Even after the rash is gone, some of the symptoms of ringworm , such as itching and redness, can persist as the skin continues to heal. If, after two weeks of treatment for ringworm, you still have symptoms that bother you, see your doctor. Do not use steroids to relieve itching – these medications weaken the immune system and can make yeast infection worse rather than help cure it. To relieve the itchiness of ringworm, you can apply a cool, wet towel to the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes.
Yes, but not for long. After 48 hours of treatment, ringworm usually does not spread easily. However, keep in mind that if you have a pet with ringworm, it can remain infectious for up to three weeks after you start treating it. This is important to know because ringworm can sometimes be transmitted from animals to humans.