Ringworm

Skin & wound infections

Ringworm

What is Ringworm?

Ringworm is a red, ring-like rash on the skin that's highly contagious. It's caused by Trichophyton, a group of parasitic fungi that live on and infect skin, hair and nails. They love damp areas, like shower trays and bathroom floors, and can cause other fungal infections too like athlete’s foot, which is also known as foot ringworm.

It spreads by:

  • Skin contact, from one person to another, as well as from pets to people.

  • Skin scales, which are shed on damp surfaces.

  • Objects that have been in contact with an infected person’s skin, like hair brushes, towels and bedding.

The symptoms are:

  • Ringworm: raised itchy patches of skin, often in a ring with a darker red edge. In more severe cases, blisters and pus-filled sores can build up around the rings.

  • Athlete's foot: itchy patches appear on the skin between the toes, causing a burning sensation, blisters and crusting.

  • Infected nails: nails appear thick and discoloured, and may crumble.

  • If these conditions cause the skin to crack it can lead to cellulitis - an infection of the deeper layers of the skin. If your skin becomes red and swollen, and feels hot and painful, consult a doctor.

How to avoid Ringworm:

  • Disinfect the damp areas of the bathroom you regularly touch, like the floor, the shower tray and curtain. Use a bleach-based cleaner like Domestos Bleach Spray or Domestos Extended Germ-Kill, to stop the fungi from spreading.

  • Practise good personal hygiene and pay particular attention to drying areas with folds of skin, like the space between your toes.

  • Avoid touching the infected skin of people or pets if you know they have an infection. And make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, particularly after touching pets where infections may be hard to spot under their fur.

  • Be careful not to share towels, hairbrushes, combs, clothing or your sports kit.

  • If someone at home is infected, wash their clothing, bed linen and towels separately, after you've finished all your other washing. Use a laundry detergent that contains bleach and set your wash cycle to 60 degrees.

How to clean a rubber shower mat

Pop it in the washing machine with other soft items, like towels, and put it on a gentle, hot cycle. Then hang it out to dry. (Never put it in the dryer – it’ll warp and crack).

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