A Gladiator’s Adversary
a common, fungal infection caused by dermatophytes. A dermatophyte is a type of fungus that lives in the upper layer of skin and feeds on the keratin in skin and hair. Ringworm is just one of many infections caused by dermatophytes. Other examples include athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) and even fungal nail infections (tinea unguium or onychomycosis).
In this blog, I am going to focus on tinea corporis gladiatorum, or ringworm found on the body, especially and most commonly with wrestlers. The medical name for ringworm is in Latin, but you know a skin condition is widespread and long-standing when it’s named after gladiators!
In this overview, I’ll hit on the five Ss:
Source: what it is, where it comes from
Spread: how it functions and propagates
Setting: where it thrives
Symptoms: result of infection on skin; potential danger
Solution: what gets rid of it
Here’s the Dirt on Ringworm
First, ringworm is not a worm! A raised ring-like border of an infection is what led early sufferers to believe it was caused by worms. The name carried through even into the scientific name, tinea, meaning worm.
What is the source of ringworm?
The dermatophytes that cause the condition are found in soil, on our pets and farm animals, and especially other humans. Right now, 1 in 5 Americans is affected by a fungal infection caused by dermatophytes, or dermatophytosis. That’s right. Take a look around…maybe even in the mirror!
How does ringworm spread?
Oh my goodness, this stuff is tough to contain! Direct skin to skin contact is the most common in contact sports like wrestling, lacrosse, football, rugby, soccer, and basketball. Ringworm is highly contagious. Our beloved pets, primarily dogs and cats, are willing to share with their humans and farm animals, especially those exposed to warm, moist soil are vulnerable to infection. Dermatophytes reproduce like other common fungi (mushrooms!), through spores.
What is the ideal setting for ringworm?
Yeah, yeah, warm, moist places- you got it the first time I said it in Source and the second time I said it in Spread, but listen! Fungal spores can cling to common objects like combs and brushes, stuffed animals, bedding, clothing, shoes and athletic bags, gear and equipment… for months. Those microscopic guys can even live for years on a shed strand of hair waiting for that perfect environment. They thrive in tight-fitting clothes with poor ventilation, wrestlers, so your singlets are a prime target.
What are the symptoms of ringworm?
Ringworm spores are unable to penetrate healthy skin but given access to mucus membranes or even microscopic scrapes and abrasions, you can bet that they will capitalize on the opportunity. Young children and people with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable. An infection generally starts out as a red, itchy spot. Untreated, it becomes scaly, forming layers called plaques. The outer border may form a ring that is raised and appears slightly darker red than the center. While ringworm is so prevalent that it may seem commonplace, it is best to treat it topically as soon as fungal infection is suspected. Rarely, a superficial fungal infection can enter the body through cuts or wounds, causing more serious diseases.
What is the solution?
As mentioned above, a topical antifungal is important, as is applying it according to directions and paying close attention to how the infection is progressing. Treating consistently and keeping the site clean and dry is imperative. Why? Several types of dermatophytes have become resistant to topical treatment, forcing those who suffer from chronic infections to take prescription medications so strong that blood tests are required to monitor potential liver damage. Often, the medication will remedy the situation only to be again required when the infection resurfaces in a couple weeks. The oral medicine is expensive and commonly prescribed along with topical solutions, increasing the cost.
Is there a safe, effective way to battle ringworm?
Yes! Every single one of us was born with it. Surprise! Your birthday suit is a suit of armor! Keeping skin clean, healthy, and dry yet moisturized can be tough. That’s why we developed COMPEL. Our formula has protective moisturizers that help skin do its job. Moisturized doesn’t mean damp. It involves staying hydrated so that the lower layers of your skin have enough moisture for the upper layers to draw upon. You don't have live in fear awaiting a dreaded fungal infection. Be proactive by using COMPEL daily on exposed skin.
What can we do to avoid the risk of infection?
Wash your body and personal items. It seems simple because it is. You just need to know what true clean entails. Keep your skin clean and healthy with COMPEL and be aware of situations in which you may encounter dermatophytes. Microbes can survive wash cycles and even thrive in washing machines. COMPEL is proven effective on a variety of surfaces from athletic equipment to fabrics, helping you keep your clothing and personal items truly clean.
It only took a couple dozen centuries, but with COMPEL, you can be a gladiator who triumphs over dermatophytes.