What is Ringworm?
Ringworm or dermatophytosis is nothing more than a superficial infection by fungi (dermatophytes) that can affect the whole body (ringworm) to the scalp (tinea capitis) or to the feet (the famous ‘athlete’s foot’).
Although outbreaks like the one that appeared in the Tierno Galván school (Alcobendas, Madrid), which already affects 16 children and two teachers, usually cause some alarm among the parents, the experts consulted by ELMUNDO.es acknowledge that there is no reason for concern .
“The problem is that the word” tinea “has pejorative connotations because it recalls the times of the post-war, hence people are scared,” says Raul de Lucas Laguna, head of Pediatric Dermatology at the University Hospital La Paz in Madrid.
However, this type of infections “are seen with certain frequency in the consultations, are not serious and are easily treatable”, emphasizes Jerónimo Escudero, professor of Dermatology at the University of Seville and member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology ( AEDV). According to school sources, “those affected suffer bald spots on their hair (they are usually like circular patches with hair loss) and skin rashes.”
Ringworm is a common disorder, especially among children, although it can occur in people of any age. It is contagious and can be transmitted from one person to another by direct contact with the skin or with contaminated items such as combs, unwashed clothing and touching surfaces of contaminated showers and swimming pools. It occurs in different stages, learn about different stages of ringworm. It can also be acquired because of infected animals. “In the case of transmission through contact with animals, the fungus is usually more aggressive,” Dr. Escudero insists.
Schools “meet the ideal conditions for an outbreak.” Mushrooms feed on keratin (containing skin, hair and nails) and are easily transmitted between children who are in close contact, head to head, playing. However, the focus of the outbreak is unknown, which can also be a domestic animal, such as a rabbit or a cat, “insists Dr. Lucas Laguna.
How to treat Ringworm?
Although the incubation period of the infection of most agents is not known, ringworm of the scalp usually occurs between 10 and 14 days after infection, while that of the body does so between four and 10 days after the first contact. .
Among its symptoms, the skin eruption and circular with red, raised and desquamating patches that can blister and ooze. These patches often have very sharp edges. If it is the scalp that is infected, there are areas without hair while in the case of infection by nails, they discolor, become thick and even split.
“They all have effective and rapid treatments and they are cured,” says Juan Ferrando, medical consultant at Hospital Clinic de Barcelona
If it is corporal, it is recommended to keep the skin clean and dry and apply powders or best antifungal creams for ringworm or lotions. If it affects the hair, you will need oral treatment with antifungals. “The important thing is to do a culture to identify the fungus well and know if it is going to need more or less time of therapy,” says the expert from La Paz.
He insists that in the case of body ringworm, symptoms remit to two weeks while it takes between four or eight weeks if it affects the scalp. “The important thing is to do the precocious treatment to avoid that they produce alopecias, but what is clear is that these infections do not usually cause complications”, adds.