Ringworm can be stubborn to treat especially when it affects the toenails, fingernails and scalp. Ringworm is caused by fungi (microorganism) known as dermatophytes. They flourish in warm, moist environments. Ringworm can be very itchy and can even affect one’s self-esteem especially in severe cases. I really dislike ringworm. I had it a couple of times on my scalp when I was younger. It is common among children and adolescents but it can also been seen in adults. Ringworm is contagious. It can be transferred through direct contact from person to person, pet to person. One can get it indirectly from clothes of infected persons, combs, brushes and infected moist surfaces like locker room floors. The soil also harbor the spores of dermatophytes.
Ringworm is medically known as Tinea. Another word is added after ‘Tinea’ depending on the affected area. On the scalp ringworm is called tinea capitis (characterized by hair loss in patches and itching), on the hands it is known as tinea manuum (raised round shaped itchy rashes or tiny blisters which can be seen on the palms, back of the hand or on the fingers), on feet it’s called tinea pedis or athlete’s foot (peeling of the skin between the toes, scaling on the heels), on the nails it’s called tinea unguium (loss of nails, nails become yellow, thick and crumbly), on the groin it is known as tinea cruris or jock itch (symptoms include redness and persistent itching at the groin area), on the body it’s called tinea corporis (round shaped rashes with raised edges on the skin), on the face it is known as tinea faciei (red scaly patches on the face).
Symptoms of ringworm appear within a few days of infection. In severe cases, it is best to seek medical help. Home remedies work best in minor cases.
Garlic is used as a food spice and medicine in different parts of the world. This wonderful spice has antimicrobial effects against many strains of bacteria, fungi and virus. It was also used by ancient Egyptians for food flavoring and traditional medicine. The amino acid Alliin is one of the main active constituents of garlic. This Alliin and its derivatives like allicin, ajoene are responsible for its strong smell and antimicrobial benefits.
A study published in 2007 tested the antifungal property of garlic. In the clinical test, an aqueous extract of garlic was used against 88 clinical isolates of dermatophytes. It was confirmed that garlic inhibited the growth of these organisms. The downside is that people who are allergic to sulfur compounds can be allergic to garlic. This is because sulfur compounds are also present in garlic. So first try in small quantity over a small uninfected area to know if you are allergic.
How to apply: Mash a few cloves of garlic. And apply on the affected areas. Apply two or three times daily. You can wash off with warm water after some hours. Another method is to slice a few cloves of garlic into tiny pieces and place on affected area. Then tie with a bandage. If someone is helping you to apply, make sure the person puts on disposable gloves to avoid getting infected.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Vinegar has been used for many years as disinfectants and preservatives. Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar derived from apple and is an effective remedy for ringworm. Apple cider vinegar is made up of antimicrobial constituents like acetic acid which inhibits the growth of microorganisms. A lot people have attested to the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar for treating ringworm. This is as a result of its anti-fungal property.
How to apply: When first applied, it can have stinging effects but it will help in treating ringworm. It should be used in small quantity first in an unaffected area to ascertain if you are sensitive to it. If there are no reactions, you can apply on affected areas. Apple cider vinegar should be dabbed on the affected area with a cotton ball 3-5 times daily. For the toes or nails, mix a cup of apple cider vinegar with warm water. Soak affected area for 15 to 25 minutes. Dry with a clean towel. Use organic apple cider vinegar because its nutrients and enzymes are still intact unlike the non-organic that has gone through pasteurization.
Warning: Do not apply apple cider vinegar on broken skin because it will give you a severe burn.
- Maintaining a good hygiene is very important for preventing and treating ringworm.
- Ringworm is highly contagious so you should avoid sharing personal items like combs or towels or even clothes when you or someone close to you is infected.
- Another alternative is to mix vinegar and salt until it forms a paste. Apply on the affected area for 5 minutes then wash off and dry the area. Do at least twice or thrice daily.
- For your pet, you can apply garlic on affected area. Or you can mix apple cider vinegar with warm water and rinse affected area after bathing your pet.
- Make sure you wash clothings that have come in contact with the infection.
- Try to keep affected areas clean and dry.