RINGWORM

The name ringworm is misleading, because the ailment to which it refers is not caused by a worm. It is in fact a form of tinea, a fungal infection, and is also known as tinea circinata. The name refers to the fact that it causes a raised ring-shaped inflammation of the skin. Ringworms are most commonly found in warm, moist areas of the body such as the armpits, groin, and beneath the breasts. The skin becomes inflamed and tends to flake and peel. Ringworms can be intensely itchy and are highly contagious.

To avoid spreading the infection, care should be taken to avoid sharing clothing, towels and bedlinen. Keeping the skin dry will prevent further growth of the fungus.

Tea tree oil applied directly to the area is often beneficial. Antifungal ointments and powders are also available from chemists without prescription. Garlic, either eaten fresh or in the form of capsules, may also help the infection clear up.

Dietary habits which may help to reduce the incidence of ringworm and other fungal infections include the elimination of refined starches and sugars and alcohol from the diet, as fungi thrive on these foods. Diabetics are particularly prone to ringworm when their sugar levels are high.

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