Ringworm is a fungus infection which may appear on any part of the body but occur most frequently on :
- The scalp (tinea).
- The parts without hair.
- Between the toes or fingers (athlete’s foot).
- Between the legs (jock itch).
Most fungus infections grow in the form of a ring. They often itch. Ringworm of the head can produce round, white patches with scales and loss of hair. Fingernails infected with the fungus become rough and thick.
Many fungus infections are very difficult to get rid of. For complete control, treatment must be continued for days or weeks after the signs disappear. Bathing and cleanliness are also important.
- Soap and water. Washing the infected part every day with soap and water may be all that is needed.
- Do your best to keep the affected areas dry and expose to the air or sunlight. Change underwear or socks often especially when sweaty.
- Use a cream of sulfur and lard (1 part sulfur to 10 parts lard).
- Creams with salicyclic or undecylenic acid help to cure the fungus between the fingers, toes and groin. Miconazole cream, if available is even more effective.
- For severe tinea of the scalp, or any fungus infection that is widespread or does not get any better with above treatments, take griseofulvin, 1 gram a day for adults and half a gram a day for children. It may be necessary to keep taking it for weeks or even months to completely control the infection.
- Many tineas of the scalp clear up when a child reaches puberty (11 to 14 years old). Severe infections forming large swollen patches with pus should be treated with compresses of warm water. It is important to pull out all of the hair from the infected part. Use griseofulvin if possible.
OINTMENTS WITH UNDECYLENIC, BENZOIC OR SALICYLIC ACID
Ointments with these acids can be used to treat ringworm, tinea of the scalp and other fungus infections of the skin. Often, they are or can be combined with sulfur. Ointments with salicylic acid and sulfur can also be used for cradle cap (seborrhea).
Whitfield’s ointment is a combination of salicylic and benzoic acid. It is useful for many fungal infections including tinea versicolor. Apply twice daily for 2 to 4 weeks.
Ointments and lotions are cheaper if you make them yourself. Mix 3 parts of salicylic acid or 6 parts of benzoic acid with 100 parts of vaseline, petrolatum, mineral oil, lard or 40 percent alcohol (rum). Rub on the skin 3 to 4 times a day.
SULFUR AND VINEGAR
A lotion of 5 parts of sulfur to 100 parts vinegar helps fight fungus infections of the skin. Also, an ointment can be made using 1 part sulfur to 10 parts of lard.
SODIUM THIOSULFATE (hypo)
This comes as white crystals, which are sold in photographic supply stores. It is used for tinea versicolor infections of the skin.
Dissolve a teaspoon of hypo in half a cup of water and spread it on the skin with a piece of cotton or cloth. Then rub the skin with a piece of cotton soaked in vinegar. Do this twice daily until the spots go away and then once again every 2 weeks to keep them from coming back.
SELENIUM SULFIDE (selsun, exsel)
This often comes as lotion containing 1 or 2.5 percent selenium sulfide. Lotions with selenium sulfide are useful for treating tinea versicolor. Apply to the affected area and wash off 30 minutes later. Use it daily for one week.
This often comes in tablets or capsules of 250 or 500 mg. Preparation in microsized particles are best. It is very expensive and should be used only for severe fungus infections of the skin and deep tinea infections of the scalp.
It is also used for fungal infections of the nails, but this may take months and does not always work. Pregnant women should avoid taking griseofulvin.
Dosage of griseofulvin
15 mg/kg/day- for microsized particle form. 250 mg capsules. Give once a day for at least a month.
- Adults : 500 to 1000 mg . (2 to 4 capsules)
- Children between 8 to 12 years old : 250 to 500 mg (1 to 2 capsules)
- Children between 3 to 7 years old : 120 to 250 mg (half to one capsule)
- Children under 3 years old : 125 mg (half capsule)
This is for yeast infections
NYSTATIN OR MICONAZOLE
This comes in solution, dusting powders, vaginal tablets, ointments and creams. It is used for treating yeast infection (candida, moniliasis) in the mouth (thrush), the vagina or in the folds of the skin. Nystatin only works for infections caused by yeast but miconazole works against other fungus infections as well.
Dosage for nystatin and miconazole
The same is given to children and adults
For thrush in the mouth : Put 1 ml of solution in the mouth and hold it there for at least 1 minute before swallowing. Do this 3 or 4 times a day.
For yeast infection on the skin : Keep as dry as possible and use nystatin or miconazole dusting powder or ointment 3 or 4 times a day.
For yeast infection in the vulva or vagina : Put cream inside the vagina twice daily or a vaginal tablet inside the vagina nightly for 10 to 14 days.
For ringworm infections : Use on the body, scalp or between the toes. Use miconazole cream, not nystatin.
HOW TO PREVENT FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Ringworm and all other fungal infections are contagious (easily spread). To prevent spreading them from one child to another :
- Do not let a child with a fungal infection sleep with others.
- Do not let different children use the same comb or use each other’s clothing; unless these are washed or well cleaned first.
- Treat an infected child at once.