Ringworm is a bit of a misnomer because it is not caused by a worm or any kind of living parasite. It is a skin condition characterized by scaly, itchy circular patches and caused by a fungus called tinea. On the scalp, it also presents as bald patches on the head. Ringworm can show up anywhere on the skin from the groin to the scalp but is most common on the scalp and on toddlers and young school-going children.
Causes and transmission
Human to human
Fungi thrive on dead tissue such as fingernails, hair, and the outer layers of the skin. Such organisms thrive in warm moist areas and so they easily spread when there is overcrowding and poor hygiene. Ringworm easily spreads easily especially among children from touching the skin of an infected person and sharing items like combs and beddings with an infected person.
Object to human
Housepets like cats and dogs as well as farm animals can transmit ringworm as well even though they may not show any signs of infection.
Animal to human
Other signs of ringworm include brittle hair, painful scalp, swollen lymph nodes, and a low-grade fever.
Home remedies for ringworm
Soap and water
It’s important to keep the infected area as clean as possible to prevent the further spread of the rash. Wash the affected area with antibacterial soap daily and thoroughly dry it to prevent further spreading.
Tea tree oil and coconut oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil with antifungal properties. It can be applied in its concentrated state or diluted with some water then applied, which is advised.
You can also mix in some coconut oil and apply the mixture to the ringworm-affected areas twice a day. Coconut oil functions as a carrier enhancing the effectiveness of tea tree oil. It also hydrates the hair and scalp, strengthens the hair, and reduces dandruff. Coconut oil has antifungal properties, and it reduces scalp irritation and itchiness. 11 Reasons You Should Be Using Coconut Oil
Lavender oil can be mixed in as well for people who find the strong smell of tea tree oil off-putting. Just mix ½ teaspoon of each then apply twice a day.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help deal with the fungi. Apply the gel to the ringworm affected area and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes before washing and thoroughly drying the scalp.
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Garlic has anti-fungal properties making it an effective remedy and way to stop the spread of ringworm. Eat the garlic raw or cooked. For topical application, peel and slice a few cloves and place them on the affected areas. Wrap your head to keep them in place then replace the garlic slices in the morning. You can also crash the peeled garlic and spread it on the affected areas, leave on for 5 minutes then rinse off and dry the area thoroughly.
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Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has strong antifungal properties that may help treat ringworm when applied topically. It also helps balance your skin’s pH levels. Soak a cotton ball in undiluted apple cider vinegar and apply it three times a day on the affected area.
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Turmeric has antibiotic and antiseptic properties which help kill ringworm. Mix a teaspoon of crushed turmeric with a teaspoon of raw honey and swallow it. Alternatively, or along with that, you can apply the crushed turmeric or turmeric and honey paste to the affected area three times daily.
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Oregano oil is a highly powerful antifungal that can inhibit and treat fungal infections. Mix a few drops of oregano oil with olive oil or coconut oil and apply to the ringworm affected area.
Papaya has two powerful compounds that have been proven to reduce inflammation. Slice unripe papaya and rub the slices onto the ringworm affected area then rinse off with warm water and dry thoroughly.
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Antifungal creams have poor penetration in the scalp, for this reason, an oral medication that is more effective is used to treat ringworm as are antifungal shampoos.
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