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Ringworm of the Skin (cont.)

Prevention

To prevent ringworm of the skin:

  • Keep your skin clean and dry. Change your socks and underwear at least once a day.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Avoid tight underwear, pants, and panty hose.
  • Always dry yourself completely after showers or baths. After drying your skin with a towel, allow your skin to air-dry before putting your clothes on. You can also use a hair dryer, set on a cool setting, to dry your skin.
  • Do not share clothing, sports equipment, towels, or sheets. If you think you have been exposed to ringworm, wash your clothes in hot water with fungus-killing (fungicidal) soap.
  • Wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms, showers, and public bathing areas.
  • Shower and shampoo thoroughly after any sport that requires skin-to-skin contact.
  • If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your underwear so that fungi do not spread from your feet to your groin. Also, when toweling off after a shower or bath, dry your feet last.
  • Take your pet to a veterinarian if it has patches of missing hair, which may be a sign of a fungal infection. Household pets can spread fungi that cause ringworm in people.

Home Treatment

In most cases, you can treat ringworm of the skin with antifungal creams or ointments. Many are available without a prescription. Use a nonprescription antifungal cream with miconazole or clotrimazole in it. Brand names include Micatin, Tinactin, and Mycelex. Terbinafine cream (Lamisil) is also available without a prescription.

  • Wash the rash with soap and water, and dry thoroughly. For large areas of blistered sores, use compresses such as those made with Burow's solution (available without a prescription) to soothe and dry out the blisters.
  • Apply antifungal cream beyond the edge or border of the rash.
  • Follow the directions on the package. Don't stop using the medicine just because your symptoms go away. You will probably need to continue treatment for 2 to 4 weeks.
  • If symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks, call your doctor.

If your rash does not clear after you have tried different topical antifungals, or if the infection is widespread, you may need prescription antifungal pills.

If you have both athlete's foot and ringworm of your groin or legs, you should treat both infections. This will prevent you from re-infecting your legs or groin with the athlete's foot fungus, when you put on your underwear.

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