The name Ringworm can be very misleading, but in contrast to what other people think where ringworm being a worm infection, it is actually a fungal infection. Take note that ringworm is not an infection involving worms. Ringworm is medically termed as tinea and is one of the most common skin infections caused by a fungus. This fungal infection may be transmitted from animals to humans, and of course, it can be transmitted from person to person by coming in contact with infected persons. Not only that, a person may also be infected of the ringworm infection by the use of infected items such as combs, clothes and other personal items. Ringworm may also be acquired in areas where the fungi are present such as locker rooms or pool areas.
When infected, the fungi that are causing a ringworm infection thrive in dead tissue layer of the skin or nails, affecting different parts of the body. The most common characteristic of a ringworm infection is the appearance of red and raised bumps or patches that forms into a ring – this characteristic is where the infection got its name. Inside the distinct ring, the skin at the center may be clear, scaly or blistered. Ringworm may vary in signs and symptoms, depending on the body part infected by the fungus. There are different types of ringworm infection: Tinea capitis or the ringworm of the scalp, Tinea faciale or the ringworm of the face not involving the beard area, Tinea barbae or the ringworm of the bearded area, Tinea manus is the ringworm of the hands, Tinea unguium is the ringworm of the nails, Tinea corporis is the ringworm of the body, Tinea cruris or the ringworm of the groin and lastly Tinea pedis which is the ringworm of the feet.
Effects and Risk during Pregnancy
Ringworm infection commonly infects children, but can also infect teenagers or adults and men or women; in short, it can infect people of all ages regardless of gender. Ringworm and pregnancy may also cause a worry for most women out there. However, there is actually nothing to be worried about because ringworm and pregnancy is not dangerous. A ringworm infection during pregnancy has no detrimental effect to the unborn child because as mentioned earlier, the fungi only live on the dead tissue on the top layer of the skin. These fungi invading the deeper parts of the body occur very rarely and these fungi do not survive in mucous membranes like the mouth or the female genital area.
Fungi exist in many places and parts of the entire surrounding, living on humans, animals or soil. The risk of pregnant women acquiring a ringworm infection is similar as to how any other person can get transmitted with the infection. Ringworm and pregnancy can occur when a pregnant woman get transmitted by an infected person, coming in contact with the infected area of the body, this being the greatest risk for pregnant women; it can also occur when a pregnant woman uses an infected item such as personal items like combs, towels, clothes and others. Ringworm and pregnancy can also occur when a pregnant woman gets ringworm from an infected animal or pet, or from places like showers, locker rooms and swimming pools. A ringworm infection can be caught in those areas because it is a perfect environment for the fungi. Warm and moist environments are suitable for the growth of fungi.
The only thing that a pregnant woman should be cautious about ringworm infection is the use of medications in treating the infection. While ringworm and pregnancy is not dangerous, the medication used to treat ringworm can be detrimental during pregnancy. There are a lot of treatment options available in treating a ringworm infection; from topical medications to orally administered medications. Griseofulvin is one antifungal oral medication that pregnant women should not use. Griseofulvin may cause serious and undesirable effects to the unborn baby when used during pregnancy. Therefore it is always best to inform the health care provider about being pregnant before taking any medications to treat ringworm infection.
Fortunately, there are medications available for ringworm and pregnancy. There are safe medications that will effectively treat ringworm and still be safe for the pregnant mother and most especially safe for the unborn child. Over-the-counter medications such as antifungal creams or ointments that contain the active ingredient Clotrimazole for instance, may be used to treat simultaneous ringworm and pregnancy. The drug Clotrimazole is actually under FDA Drug Category B which means that there is no evidence showing any risks to humans when used during pregnancy. Prescription medications may also be used in treating ringworm during pregnancy and this includes a cream containing nystatin and triamcinolone usually prescribed by physicians. This combination is under FDA Drug Category C, meaning it is not known to cause risks when used during pregnancy, however, it is not ruled out. To get the proper treatment for the incidence of ringworm and pregnancy, a health care provider must be consulted. Instructions on dosage must be strictly followed to get most out of the medication and to prevent recurrence of the fungal infection.