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Ringworm Infection

Intro

If the ringworm lesion fails to respond to nonprescription antifungal medications after one week of applying the medication, call your doctor.

Generally, ringworm infections are not emergencies. But if you develop fever  , increased pain, swelling, drainage, or redness, which could suggest a bacterial superinfection, go to a hospital's emergency department.

Self-Care at Home

Although infection may go away without treatment, some ringworm may require antifungal medications applied as cream to the lesions.

Apply topical antifungal medications to the lesion itself and 1 inch beyond its border twice daily for a minimum of two weeks, and at least one week after it goes away. Keep the infected area clean and dry. Over-the-counter medications available at the drugstore include miconazole 2% (with brand names such as Monistat and Micatin) or clotrimazole 1% (with brand names such as Lotrimin and Mycelex).
Ringworm is highly contagious.

  • Avoid touching suspicious lesions.
  • Maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands and body frequently and laundering the linens and clothes of an infected family member separately.
  • Avoid contact sports such as wrestling until you have been treating the lesions for at least 48 hours.
Follow-up

After leaving the doctor's office, it is important to follow the prevention guidelines, to complete a full course of therapy, and to follow proper hygiene.

Prevention

To avoid ringworm infection, avoid contact with suspicious lesions, wear loose-fitting clothes, avoid sharing clothes, and after showering, dry off completely. Examine all family members for signs of tinea as reinfection may occur.

Outlook

In general, ringworm infections get better within four weeks. Possible complications include bacterial superinfection or an invasive dermatophyte infection.

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