Ringworm in Children - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Ringworm in Children

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 14 Aug 2014 - 18:00.

Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection, which doesn't spare any one starting from an infant to the old. It affects persons of both genders. The moment the victim comes in close contact with any one suffering from the disease or uses any items used by the infected person.

It is a disease, which is neither painful nor dangerous except that it is of great nuisance for the victim who goes on scratching over the area affected. Ringworm is akin to the one that is caused by a fungus, which also causes athlete’s foot, or toenail fungus. In children the usual sites affected are the scalp and the torso.

Identification: If your child has ringworm on the torso, there will be several red rings over the area affected giving it the name ‘Ringworm’ though it has nothing to do with any worms as such. The rings are of the size 50 paise coin and appear on the chest, stomach, thighs or the back depending on where the child scratches on a fresh area after scratching on the affected area with the nails.

As the fungus grows, the rings get larger. When it affects the scalp area it resembles dandruff or a bald spot. The rings can be dry and crusty or wet with pus like material. It is often mistaken as cradle cap a condition, which is more common in young children. When in doubt you must consult a doctor, preferably a dermatologist.

Transmission: The mode of transmission is always through an infected person or in some cases an infected pet. The fungus is most often spread through person to person contact and through pets if you have any. The usual objects carrying the infection are hairbrushes, combs or hats used by an infected person.

Treatment: For any unusual rash you notice in your child, always talk it out with a doctor. Over-the-counter preparations containing cotrimezol are commonly used to treat ringworm infection.

Some children are very sensitive to clotrimezol. Therefore care should be exercised to first try a small quantity of the cream on a normal area to find out any reaction. If there is evidence of any reaction stop its use at once and ask the doctor for alternate medicament. If the child is not sensitive you can apply the cream over the areas affected liberally a couple of times a day for at least 10 days.

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly to prevent infecting other areas or other persons including yourself. Ringworm of the scalp takes more time for cure. If there is no substantial relief with local creams the doctor may try oral antifungal agents.

It is rather hard to protect your child from getting infected with ringworm. However, you can try to prevent further spread of the infection to areas not affected by observing the following:

  • If your baby is infected with ringworm, alert the friends who handle the child to make sure they are not infected or get treated if infected.
  • If you have any pets in the house make sure they are not infected through a visit to the veterinarian.
  • Infected children should not share pillows, hairbrushes, combs, fancy caps or towels with others in the family or those who visit the house. All these items used exclusively by the child should either be washed thoroughly or thrown away.
  • Going to school is not advisable. Other kids in the day school may get infected when they play with each other or come in close contact with your child or the items used by the infected.
*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.