The name ‘ringworm’ is a particularly unpleasant choice for a rash. This conjures images of an infestation or parasites and the imagination does all kinds of vulgar things with these imaginary, ring shaped critters.
The good news? Ring worm is actually not caused by microscopic parasites. Rather, this is simply a rash that might appear a little like it is caused by worms. That’s because it creates small rings around the skin which with a little imagination, could resemble the outlines of worms living just underneath.
But while this might not be quite as horrible a condition as you at first imagined, don’t be fooled into thinking that it is harmless either. The most upsetting part of ringworm is the fact that it is highly contagious to the point that direct skin-to-skin contact can cause others to get the same condition. Making matters worse, it can also spread via your clothing or bedding, meaning you’ll need to wash them very thoroughly on a very high heat.
It gets worse though, as of course this also means you have to be incredibly careful touching other people – you’ll become Rogue from the Xmen (an obscure reference for the comicbook fans there). This means you can’t ask for a hug or a massage and generally, you may lack intimacy for a time.
And on top of all that, coming into contact with others on the train or the bus is just as bad – meaning that you’ll need to wear long sleeves or pants to cover the affected area.
It’s a sad existence but there’s yet another wrinkle making life more difficult still: ringworm can spread around your own body very quickly too. That is to say you will now be contagious to yourself. Reach down to scratch the mark and you can end up getting it on your hand! Touch your face and now you have it on your head.
There are ways around this, most of which involve covering the offending areas and employing a lot of self-control. But it’s really no fun and it can last a long time. So how do you know if you’ve got it and you need to start being super careful? Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs.
The most obvious symptom of ringworm is the rash itself. This is a ring-like rash that appears on the skin and that is essentially the ‘calling card’ of this particular condition.
For this rash to be ringworm, it will need to be red and irritated but with a light, healthy looking patch of skin in the center. This can vary in size and redness but it is that ring shape that you should look out for. Of course other things can cause a ring-shaped rash, including spider bites and tick marks, so you should check in with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis.