Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Best Treatment for Ringworm

Thursday, 23 September 2010 09:13 AM

Question: What is the best treatment for ringworm?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Ringworm is actually not a worm infection, but is a fungal infection of our skin that can be caused by any one of several different kinds of fungi. It is spread by direct contact, but usually needs repeated contact or even abrasion to gain a foothold beyond our skin defenses.

Ringworm is referred to as "tinea" in medical lingo, and is very easy to treat. Treatment is customized to the location affected, be it scalp, body, pubic area, or feet. Often a topically applied antifungal agent is sufficient, but scalp involvement, and sometimes foot involvement, may need a simple oral antifungal medication course of treatment if topical treatment fails.

These infections may take weeks to clear, so unlike bacterial infections, we need to be a little more patient with anti-fungal treatment … at least two weeks and six to eight weeks in resistant cases of scalp/foot involvement.

Animals can transmit ringworm to us by direct contact with their skin. This includes domestic animals such as dogs, cats, and especially kittens and puppies. Other animals such as horses, pigs, cows, and goats may also spread ringworm to us. It can also be spread by people, especially by their clothing.

When being treated for ringworm, be sure to wash all clothing and bedding in hot soapy water, and turn your mattress as an added precaution.

Sometimes a simple agent, such as Selsun shampoo or lotion, will work well and usually requires repeat applications. Other very limited cases may need a combination of medications for 14 days such as Lotrisone to provide additional relief beyond Lotromin alone.

Newer generation oral drugs are needed infrequently; some that are not too expensive are Lamisil or Nizoral. Griseofulvin may be used as an oral medication. It is effective and inexpensive, although may take slightly longer to clear.

Be sure to consult your doctor before using these oral medications in order to avoid drug interactions with other medications.

© HealthDay

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