To prevent ringworm from spreading you need to know how the infection is spread and where they are most likely to occur.
Ringworm, also known as tinea, is a fungal skin infection that results from exposure to contaminated items or infected individuals. The tinea fungus is easily passed along and causes reddened, scaly, ring-shaped patches on the skin that can become itchy and blister.
How Ringworm Is Spread
Ringworm infections can occur in virtually any person, including those of perfect health. Higher rates of infections with ringworm have been found in individuals with compromised immune systems. The tinea fungus is easily transmitted via moisture or minor injuries. Sharing personal items, being in close contact with animals, or engaging in physical contact with others may also increase the risk for becoming infected with ringworm.
Where Do Ringworm Infections Occur?
Ringworm infections typically occur in communal environments frequented by a diversity of individuals, such as schools, daycare settings, beauty salons, pet grooming services, hospitals, and other high traffic social institutions. Generally, the fungus is able to survive in a humid, warm environment where they are able to multiply rapidly. Common breeding grounds for the tinea fungus are public pools, sports facilities, and locker rooms.
Preventing Ringworm Infection during an Outbreak
Preventing ringworm, also known as a dermatophyte infection, can be as simple as practicing proper hygiene and avoiding physical contact with a potentially infected source. In case of a ringworm outbreak, it is important to keep all skin coming into potential contact with an infectious source clean and dry. Personal items, such as hairbrushes, towels, or clothing that may have been exposed to the fungus should never be shared or used before the items have been sanitized and dried. Hygienic measures should also be taken when handling pets with bald patches caused by a suspected ringworm infection. If ringworm breaks out in a public setting, such as a schools or daycare center, it is imperative to avoid visiting this setting to avoid exposure. Proper sanitation with bleach and air-drying may remove or kill the fungus on most items.
“CDC – People at Risk for Dermatophytes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/fungal//dermatophytes/risk-prevention.html>.
“Ringworm: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001439.htm>.