Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin; the medical name for this fungus is Tinea + the area of the skin where it is found. For example, Tinea capitis is ringworm on the head, and Tinea Corporis is ringworm on the body. Tinea Barbae is ringworm that is on the beard area of the face.
Tinea Barbae at one point was called Barbers itch, named so because the men were going to the barber daily and probably got the fungal infection there. Athletes foot (Tinea Pedis) (found between the toes) and jock itch (Tinea Cruris) (found in the folds of the groin area) are also types of ringworm infections.
There are different names for the umbrella infection ringworm depending upon where the infection is located. Ringworm that appears on the scalp and neck is called tinea capitis, while ringworm found on the torso is called tinea corporis. Ringworm that appears on the feet and ankles is called tinea pedis, though it is more commonly known as Athletes Foot.
Although the world is full of yeasts, molds, and fungi, only a few cause skin problems. These agents are called the dermatophytes, which means skin fungi. Skin fungi can only live on the dead layer of keratin protein on top of the skin. They rarely invade deeper into the body and cannot live on mucous membranes, such as those in the mouth or vagina.
The patches of ringworm on the body are usually round or oval, with raised pink and scaly rings which show a clean space in the centre. The itching in the infected parts helps to spread infection through the nails to other healthy part of the body. If it is not treated for a long time, the infection becomes chronic and is then difficult to get rid of.
Tinea faciei: Ringworm on the face except in the area of the beard. On the face, ringworm is rarely ring-shaped. Characteristically, it causes red, scaly patches with indistinct edges.
Tinea manus: Ringworm involving the hands, particularly the palms and the spaces between the fingers. It typically causes thickening (hyperkeratosis) of these areas, often on only one hand. Tinea manus is a common companion of tinea pedis (ringworm of the feet). It is also called tinea manuum.
Ringworm is very easy to diagnose. Usually, the characteristics of ringworm i.e. the round red scaly ring are enough just on their own. However, doctors could also take a scraping off the affected skin or in the case of head or scalp ringworm a hair off the patient and then look at it under a microscope where confirmation of the diagnosis can be carried out.
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