Articles, Blog

What is Ringworm and How Do You Get Rid of It?

August 18, 2019


Here are some of the top ways you can get
ringworm: Touching, touching, and touching. So yeah, by touch. And summer means more opportunities to touch
things that might infect you with ringworm, because ringworm thrives in warmer weather
that’s often damp, wet, some might say… Contrary to its name ringworm isn’t a worm. It’s actually a skin infection that’s caused
by a fungus. And there are dozens of different fungal species
that can cause it, typically from one of these three genera. In the United States, the species Trichophyton
rubrum has more recently stole the spotlight, now causing the majority of ringworm cases. They can infect different parts of your body. So…this is ringworm. But so is this. And this. And also jock itch. The goodish news is that although ringworm
is easy to spread it’s less harmful than a lot of other highly transmittable diseases,
like measles or ebola. That’s because the fungal species that cause
ringworm eat keratin and keratin is on the outside of you: it makes up much of your hair,
nails, and skin cells. Because it’s limited to these areas ringworm
thankfully can’t get more than skin deep and, say, start eating your internal organs! But could you imagine how crazy that horror
film would be? Sorry, got off track. Anyway… Keratin is a structural protein that contains
a lot of cysteine. These cysteine molecules link keratin molecules
together via strong disulfide bonds. But they’re still no match for ringworm-causing
fungi. The fungi produce enzymes that break apart
the disulfide bonds, cutting keratin into peptide bits and amino acids that the fungi
snack on. So what do you do if you are unlucky enough
to contract this gross looking fungus? If you go to your doctor for a suspected case
of ringworm, here’s what you can expect: For starters, your doctor might shine a totally
harmless blacklight on you for diagnosis. Some fungi that cause ringworm naturally fluoresce,
thanks to the compound pteridine, so they’re easy to spot. But many of the fungal species that cause
ringworm don’t, so your doctor might decide to scrape the skin from your infection and
mix it with a solution of a potassium hydroxide. The potassium hydroxide dissolves skin cells,
but won’t mess with fungal cells. That’s because fungal cell walls are made
of chitin and other complex carbs that it can’t break down. With the skin cells gone, it’s easier for
your healthcare provider to spot the remaining fungal cells under a microscope. If you do have ringworm, don’t stress—there
are many safe, lowkey treatment options. Depending on how bad your infection is, your
doctor might have you use an over-the-counter lotion, like clotrimazole. Clotrimazole is a fungistatic drug–it doesn’t
kill the fungus but stops it from growing and the fungus will eventually slough off
as you naturally shed skin cells. If your infection is really bad, like this,
your doctor might prescribe something more hard-core, like the oral version of the fungicide
terbinafine, which quickly kills the fungus. Terbinafine works by blocking an enzyme responsible
for making the molecule ergosterol. Ergosterol is essential for fungi, because
it stabilizes their cell membranes. Terbinafine blocks the enzyme which means
no ergosterol, which means an unstable cell membrane, and, before you know it, BOOM fungal
cells bursts. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure. So, how do you avoid ringworm? You need to have direct contact with the fungus
to get ringworm, so avoid sharing towels, bedding, combs, hats, and other articles of
clothing. Keep your skin dry and clean and wash your
hands after petting fluffy. If you start to see a red, rashy, scabby…
yeah, seriously just go get it checked out. And, it’s very important to follow the treatment
your doctor prescribes to the bitter end. Why? Well, maybe you’ve heard of hospital “superbugs.” These are bacteria that have built up resistance
to multiple antibiotics. Fungi can do the same thing. Antifungal resistance is a thing, and although
resistance to ringworm fungi is rare and nowhere near as scary as antibiotic resistance, it’s
not something to be messed with. So, this summer before you walk barefoot across
a pool deck or sit down to play video games in your sweaty clothes after football practice,
just…don’t.

17 Comments

  • Reply Abishek Girish June 11, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Anybody else here who has no idea why you're here despite the disgusting thumbnail?

  • Reply Danielle Spargo June 11, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    I thought i had this once but it turned out to just be eczema lol

  • Reply Shaneequa Naynay June 11, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    reactions hate white people

  • Reply Sunallee June 12, 2019 at 3:46 am

    Please, never make a thumbnail like that ever again

  • Reply Akuma June 12, 2019 at 7:20 am

    That thumbnail hurts me

  • Reply Steeve Martial June 12, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    The video is good as usual, but maybe warn us next time before showing gross pictures. So don't put them in the thumbnail

  • Reply Chad The Gig Economist June 12, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    gross

  • Reply Shanna Wheeler June 13, 2019 at 2:18 am

    That thumbnail was actually what brought me here. I mean, yeah, it's gross but it's not nauseating or anything. I thought I was the one with the weak stomach.

  • Reply xponen_ June 13, 2019 at 5:50 am

    mmm eh… not that gross, that look just like if you rub dried glue off your skin, seen that a lot of times!

  • Reply Reactions June 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    So glad everyone loves our thumbnail 😉

  • Reply Solis Druid June 16, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    What is the big hullabaloo over the word moist?! I know 60% of the time, women cringe, everytime. But why?! No one can logically answer that…

  • Reply Cameron Schapals June 18, 2019 at 1:58 am

    I heard it’s very easy to spread

  • Reply F-zero91maru June 19, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Is it weird that I find the AF fungus very attractive I love seeing women/girls itching and scratching with their other foot

  • Reply F-zero91maru June 19, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I don’t understand how humanity views athletes foot as disgust when I find it attractive and arousing due to scratchy noises.. fuck humanity and their taboos

  • Reply Hung Vu June 27, 2019 at 10:56 am

    <3

  • Reply Destiny Fan July 3, 2019 at 12:02 am

    It has to do with people not allowing their skin to breathe. Like wearing shoes and socks all day long.

  • Reply Sarah Claasen July 3, 2019 at 8:56 am

    A fungus among us.

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