Last Updated on
Usually, due to the effect of ringworm on the outer layer of the skin, the question of how long does ringworm last arises. However, there’s no set time limit for ringworm infection. It may also clear off on its own without treatment. This usually in a matter of months, especially in a healthy person, or it may not.
What Does Ringworm Mean?
Ringworm is known as a fungal infection that causes a ring-shaped rash on the skin. The rash is usually red and ring-shaped with unaffected skin in the middle. There may be scaly, bumpy or have blisters on the red border may.
The borer can easily be seen as a result of its sharp edges. The ring shape varies in size. It is possible to have bumpy red patches on the skin without the ring shape. Hence, the infection may be ruled out just because the rash isn’t a ring with clear skin in the middle.
Ringworm mostly shows up on the face, trunk, and limbs, and it can as well appear in other parts of the body. The scalp of the head can also be infected. Some of the sign is having a flaky pimple or dandruff appearance instead of the usual ring shape. While in the groin you may experience jock itches as a form of the infection. The athlete’s foot is ringworm that happens on the feet.
How Long Does Ringworm Last?
Treatment usually helps ringworm symptoms to disappear quickly. If left untreated, ringworm can last for months. With treatment, the skin condition usually starts clearing up within days, but it can take a week or two. Usually, depending on the severity, treatment generally lasts after the rash disappears.
It takes a total of two to four weeks of medication. Treatment should be continued for at least one week after the rash goes away. If the treatment time is extended it enables effectiveness and ensures the fungus is actually gone.
Ringworm infection may not be quickly noticed because of its incubation period. The incubation period usually lasts a few days before the indicating red rash is seen. The manifestation of Ringworm on the scalp can take up to two weeks after infection to show symptoms.
How Does Ringworm Spread?
Ringworm is a very contagious infection. It can be easily contacted by both kids and adults from a number of sources. Person-to-person contact is a common way of getting the infection, but the fungus sticks around on various surfaces like floors.
Other areas are hats and brushes so you can be infected even if you don’t touch the infected person directly. Another source from which ringworm can be contacted is from a pet.
Even though ringworm may be contacted by anyone, there are some people who have a higher risk to get it. Kids are likely to get ringworm more before they get to puberty. More so, boys seem more vulnerable to fungal infection than girls.
People with eczema and other similar skin diseases that affect the outer skin are also at higher risk.
How Ringworm Can Be Diagnosed
Ringworm is usually diagnosed by history and physical examination. Diagnosis of ringworm can be observed by looking at skin scrapings under the microscope, where the fungus is visible. As well, ringworm rash usually does not glow under ultraviolet light.
If clearly, visible ringworm does not respond to treatment as expected, diagnosis may need to be repeated.
Different Stages of Ringworm
The different stages of ringworm may be very confusing due to the very factors involved. In one of the stages, the buildup of the ringworm can be slow and gradual and this regarded as chronic.
It can also be acute, which is indicated by a sudden attack. This makes it hard to predict if you’re just experiencing an itch or a skin condition.
Secondly, the symptoms vary depending on which part of your skin is infected, such as your foot or scalp. While the third is that the species of fungi responsible may elicit various responses depending on the person.
The third factor is validated by Mycology Online, the University of Adelaide. There is a relationship between the type and severity of the host response to the species and strain of dermatophyte causing the infection.
In this case, your knowledge of the common symptoms for each type of ringworm and how they typically begin can help you determine the correct course of action.
1. Early Stages
Ringworm basically doesn’t show up immediately, once you’re exposed to dermatophytes. It usually takes up to 4 to 14 days before the symptoms are clearly seen:
- A red or pink spot that’s slightly raised when fungi multiply on the skin. It may be in the form of moist, but more often, it’s dry, scaly and itchy.
- Usually, the center will start to clear up as the size of the rash increase.
- The outcome develops a circular patch with red edges, which is a classic symptom.
2. Advanced Stages
In this stage, the ringworm infection would have clearly manifested in its forms.
- Tinea pedis: You may develop blisters on the sides of your foot. There is a possibility of your entire sole to be dry but not inflamed.
- Tinea barbae: There may be inflammation on your facial hair area, and even develop pustules and small lumps of kerion in the area. It is as well easy for the facial hair to pull out.
- Tinea unguium: There can be an appearance of yellow spots on your lunula, which is the white, crescent-shaped area of your fingernail or toenail. The fungi may completely destroy your nail if it is left untreated.
- Tinea capitis: Kerion is a pus-filled lump. It is several centimeters in diameter that may break open and drain, may develop. In the event it is left untreated, it may lead to scarring and permanent hair loss on the area. There may be a more serious condition if a fever develops. Call your doctor immediately if that happens.
3. Healing Stages
Just as was said earlier, if ringworm is left untreated, it may last for several months. If treated immediately, it only lasts for two to four weeks, depending on how your skin responds to the chosen remedy.
Soon after treatment begins, you’ll notice that your skin may flake and peel as it heals. You don’t worry as this is normal. The itching also gradually lessens until it disappears.
During the stage of healing, it’s recommended to have your home cleaned thoroughly to minimize the chances of fungi growth. Some effective solutions include vacuuming daily, as well as steam cleaning carpets and other furnishings to remove spores. For beddings, wash them in hot water.
The Symptoms of Ringworm
Ringworm symptom may begin with a rash which is typically dry, raised, round patch, which may be slightly red. The patch may also be somehow itchy.
As it grows, the center of the patch clears and leaves a ring-like appearance. Not all children display this central clearing. Basically, there is a different way that it can appear from person to person.
Treatment for Ringworm
The basic treatment for ringworm is a contemporary antifungal cream, such as miconazole or clotrimazole. It is applied to the affected area. If you have ringworm of the scalp, it may be treated with a special shampoo combined with oral antifungal medicine. If the infection is severe, your doctor may recommend a prescription cream or an oral antifungal medication.
How You Can Prevent Ringworm
In preventing ringworm, Contact with anything contaminated with the fungus needs to be avoided. This may not be that easy, especially when you have kids who constantly touch every surface possible. Regular washing of hands often helps to reduce the risk. Some other ways to prevent ringworm include:
- Educating your kids not to share personal items
- Putting on shoes, especially in locker rooms and around public pools
- Making efforts to always change socks and underwear frequently
- The habit of washing hands after playing with pets
- Keeping sports gear clean and dry
- Carrying out frequent vacuum activity in the house or compound if your pet has ringworm.
- Using your own personal items like towels, brushes, and clothes
- Putting on lightweight, cool, breathable clothes to avoid creating an ideal warm, humid place for the fungus to grow
- Keeping skin dry
Common Prescriptions for Ringworm
According to Web MD, the most common oral medicines prescribed by the doctor are Griseofulvin, Terbinafine, and Itraconazole.
- Terbinafine. If you are placed on this medication by your doctor, you’ll have to take them once a day for 4 weeks. They work in most cases. Side effects usually are mild and don’t last long. They might include nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, and rashes. You won’t get a prescription for this if you have liver disease or lupus.
- Griseofulvin. You’d have to take this for 8 to 10 weeks. It’s also available as a spray. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, mild diarrhea, headache, and indigestion. Griseofulvin is a medication that can cause birth defects. However, you can’t take it if you’re pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Condoms during sex is a necessity for men. This should be for up to 6 months after stopping treatment. It also can cause birth control pills not to work. Use condoms or another form of contraception if you’re on it. And, you shouldn’t drive or drink alcohol while you’re taking it.
- Itraconazole. This prescription is given in pill form for 7 or 15 days. It’s not for use in children, the elderly, or those with severe liver disease. While taking it, you may experience nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, or headache. You need to see your doctor if the symptoms or infection gets worse or doesn’t get better after you’ve finished your treatment.
When to See Your Doctor
Many antifungal creams that work are available in over-the-counter forms, so you don’t need to see your doctor start treatment. If there is no improvement on the ringworm infection after two weeks of over-the-counter treatment, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
If there is no certainty that it is ringworm, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment for a diagnosis and get recommendations for treatment.
Ringworm of the scalp is usually difficult to treat and is a common cause of hair loss. It is relevant that you schedule an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you or your child has it on the scalp so you can start treatment right away. If you think your pet is the source of the ringworm infection, schedule an appointment with your vet.