The goal of ringworm treatment is to kill the tinea fungi which are causing the outbreak. Depending on the severity of the outbreak, tinea usually responds well to home treatment. However, it never hurts to have a doctor take a look at any outbreak of the infection, and in severe cases your doctor may need to prescribe more powerful antifungal lotions or oral treatments.
It is important to note that the use of corticosteroids, which may relieve the itching of ringworm, will actually exacerbate the condition. A corticosteroid is never suggested as the only ointment to apply to a ringworm infection, and your doctor or pharmacist may suggest a mixture product containing an antifungal medication mixed with a corticosteroid.
Antibiotics as a course in serious outbreaks
If the ringworm has progressed to the point where a serious secondary bacterial infection has occurred, you may need a course of antibiotics. Additionally, if the infection has run deep into the epidermal layer then there may be abscesses requiring surgical drainage.
Topical antifungal drugs
In most cases of ringworm, the infection is cleared with the use of topical antifungal creams. When the infection is located on the body skin or in the folds of the groin, creams have proven highly effective. Typically the creams contain active ingredients of clotrimazole, miconazole, ketoconazole, naftifine, and terbinafine. These creams have also proven effective in the treatment of foot infections.
In all cases of cream treatment the cream needs to be applied daily for two to four weeks.
The topical antifungal treatments are almost always the first line of treatment for a tinea outbreak. However, some of the fungal infections will not respond well to their application: tinea of the nail or scalp for example. To treat tinea outbreaks in these areas it is usually required for you to take an oral antifungal. Oral medications typically run a three month course.
Care of skin during infection
Ringworm is an uncomfortable situation and how you care for your skin during an outbreak will affect your comfort. When you are being treated for ringworm, it is important that you keep your skin, clean and dry, avoid clothing that rubs or irritates the area, and wash sheets and night clothes each day.
In addition to these comfort and safety guidelines, you must also continue to apply the course of treatment prescribed by your doctor. In addition, if you have pets, you should consider having them undergo the treatment simultaneously with you.
In almost all cases the prognosis for simple tinea infections is good. Generally the skin will clear in 3 to 4 weeks. But if your ringworm does not respond to treatment, worsens, or you develop an infection due to scratching the infected area, additional medical attention may be required.
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