Fungal infections of the skin are very common and usually mild. However, in very sick or immunosuppressed people, fungi can sometimes cause serious disease.
They usually cause infections on the surface of the skin, so-called superficial fungal infections. Fungi are actually parasites or saprophytes i.e. they live off living or dead organic matter.
This short video provides an excellent overview of fungal skin infections.
Ringworm is a very common and contagious skin infection that causes a red scaly ring-like red rash on the skin. A number of other skin problems appear similar to ringworm and they are commonly misdiagnosed as ringworm by non-dermatologists. The scaly rash can appear almost anywhere on the body, with the scalp, feet and groin being common sites.
When it affects the scalp it can lead to scarring alopecia and therefore early treatment with oral anti fungal agents is needed.
The condition, often referred to as “tinea”, isn’t serious and is usually treated with topical anti-fungals.
However, ringworm is highly contagious and easily spread among people.
Despite its name, it doesn’t have anything to do with worms. It’s an infection of the skin caused by a fungus.