What will you do if you see red itchy patches on your body? It may be a case of ring worm infection. It may sound bad, but it can be cured easily with over-the-counter ringworm treatment. Ringworm is a common skin infection caused by a fungus. The fungi feeds on the dead cells of skin and hair causing a ring of irritated itchy skin that looks like a worm. This may cause a rash and becomes sore. It may appear as scalp ring worm, body ringworm, face ring worm or groin ringworm. Anyone is susceptible to this contagious fungus infection. Ring worm is easily transmitted by having direct skin-to-skin contact with infected individuals and pets. It may spread indirectly also through objects like towels, clothing, hairbrushes and personal items of persons infected with it.
Ringworm can be cured with medication. For most people it is not necessary to consult a doctor. There are many over the counter ringworm treatments available for ring worm. There are medications taken orally or applied locally, which are effective, well-tolerated, and even considered safe.
1. Ketoconazole. Over-the-counter Ketoconazole cream and shampoo is used to treat ringworm which controls flaking, scaling and itchy scalp caused by dandruff. It slows down the growth of the fungi that cause the infection. Ketoconazole cream is applied once a day for 2-6 weeks. Over-the-counter ketoconazole shampoo is used as needed to control dandruff. Head and shoulder shampoo works well for scalp ring worm.
2. Miconazole. Miconazole, an antifungal agent, besides controlling the growth of the fungi has some antibacterial properties also. It has very minimal side effects. Micatin, miconazole nitrate cures athlete’s foot and jock itch and relieves itching, scaling, burning and discomfort.
The prescribed treatment period for Athlete’s foot and other ringworm is four weeks; for jock itch, it is two weeks. If you notice no improvement within this time or worse, if the ringworm seems to be spreading, you’re up for a visit to the doctor because you would need a prescription to get anti-fungal pills or stronger dosage of the cream, lotion or shampoo.
Oral anti-fungal medication is used for more serious cases of infection, such as when the fungus has spread. It is also used for fungal infection of the nails and when ringworm has spread on the scalp of children. Prescription antifungals are drug types known as allylamines and azoles like Lamisil tablets, Diflucan, Sporanox, Nizoral, and Grifulvin V. These are strong drugs that kill the fungi but have side effects, which is why treatment has to be monitored by the doctor.
There are also different formulations for fungal infection of the nails. What you need would depend on the type of infection. Studies have shown that oral terbinafine drugs are more effective on nail diseases caused by dermatophytes. Though some claim that anti-fungal creams or lotions and even just plain nail polish have worked for them, authorities say topical treatment or applying medicine on the nail is not really effective.
Scott LeRoy has been studying prescription and OTC medications as well as natural remedies for over a dozen years. He is a regular contributor to Skin Care and Treatment, a section of Skin Site dedicated to conventional and alternative treatments of various conditions.