Bali schools can often be prime locations to come in contact with ringworm, which is not at all a worm but referred to as “tinea corporis” and easy to treat. Tinea infections are caused by several types of mold-like fungi that thrive on the dead tissue of the skin.
In addition to the skin, ringworm alsoaffects the nails and scalp and starts as a red, scaly round patch or bump that is itchy and uncomfortable. When ringworm affects a child’s feet it’s known as athlete’s foot, and the rash, which is usually between a child’s toes, appears patchy. In fact, the rashes a person gets with athlete’s foot and jock itch may not appear as rings at all, they may look like red,scaly patches.
Ringworm of the scalp may start as a small sore that resembles a pimple before becoming patchy, flaky, or scaly. If the scalp becomes infected a child’s hair will fall out but regrow after the tinea is treated with cream, medicated shampoo, and oral medicine.
The most common sources of the fungi that cause tinea infections are other children. Ringworm is contagious and is easily spread from one person to another, so avoid touching an infected area on another person. It’s also possible to become infected from contact with animals, like cats and dogs (perhaps especially from Bali dogs, even those that are our pets).
Ringworm is more common in warm, tropical environments like Bali
To protect yourself and your young ones against infection, it can help to wear flip-flops on your feet in a shower or, at the pool and to wash sports clothing regularly especially if your child participates in gymnastics. Because fungi is on your skin, it’s important to shower after sports and to wash hands often, especially after touching pets.
Fortunately, ringworm is fairly easy to diagnose and treat. A BIMC doctor or dermatologist often and routinely treats the infection by first diagnosing ringworm based on its distinct ring appearance.
If you do think you have ringworm, your BIMC doctor will recommend a topical antifungal ointment or cream; ringworm infecting the scalp or nails requires oral antifungal medication. Your BIMC doctor will decide which treatment is best for you.
Fungal infections are classified into three categories
- Superficial (affecting the skin, hair, nails, inside of the mouth, and genital organs)
- Subcutaneous (beneath the skin)
- Deep (affecting internal organs).
The main surface infections are tinea (ringworm and athlete’s foot) and candidiasis (thrush). Tinea affects external areas of the body. Candidiasis is caused by the yeast Candida albicans and usually affects the genitals or inside the mouth.
Subcutaneous infections are rare; the most common is sporotrichosis, which may follow contamination of a scratch. Most other conditions of this type, the most important of which is mycetoma, occur mainly in tropical countries.
Deep fungal infections are uncommon, but they can present a serious threat to people who have an immune deficiency disorder or those who are taking immunosuppressant drugs.
Source: Web MD; Kids Health;