If you’ve recently noticed a round, itchy spot on your skin, then you could have a ringworm, and you wouldn’t be the only one.
An anecdotal spike in people appearing at a local pharmacy with the fungal infection prompted the Daily Liberal to find out why and what can be done.
We spoke with Laura Rheinberger, Intern Pharmacist at Bloom’s Chemist in Mudgee about the surge in ringworms in the region.
“We’re actually not sure at the moment, why people are appearing, some with their bodies entirely covered in them,” Laura said.
“They usually appear as single one, that we call the ‘mother’ spot and sometimes it can take a couple of months for it to develop but these people seem to be coming in and it’s come up within a week.
“It could be the weather at the moment, it’s really hot and humid which makes it a perfect environment for fungal infections to flourish because they love it. It also depends on the person’s natural skin function as well and whether their natural skin barrier is already broken down a little bit.
“It could be a particularly aggressive strain of fungus that has come from an animal or someone else.”
Laura also points out that the name can be misleading to people.
“A ringworm is a type of fungal infection on the skin,” she said.
“It’s in a similar family to tinea, which as we know causes all sorts of itchy skin problems in many different places and it - while it is called and looks like a worm on the skin that has made a ring – it is commonly mistaken for an actual worm.”
“However it is just a fungal infection on the skin, and it can spread very easily.”
Not worry though, treatment is quite straightforward if you catch it early.
“So we use an anti-fungal treatment, whether it be a wash, a cream or a foam that gets left on the skin, the treatment does take a little while because we like to treat infections up until two weeks after all symptoms have disappeared,” Laura said.
“If you notice one on your skin, it is best to go straight to the doctor or go to the pharmacy, because if we can get on top of it at the very first sign it is obviously much better than if it has spread all over your body.”
“We can give you a treatment for it before it gets really bad and obviously the worse it is, the longer it’s been on your skin and the longer we have to treat it for.”