Eczema vs Ringworm

Eczema and Ringworm are both skin conditions. But they are not the same thing. Eczema is a common condition that causes dry, scaly patches on the skin, while ringworm is a fungal infection that causes itchy red patches with hair loss in between them. There are some similarities though: both can be very uncomfortable and contagious to others! In this post, we will discuss how you can tell the difference between eczema and ringworm, what treatments work best for each condition, so let’s get started!

How can you tell the difference between ringworm and eczema?

Ringworm is usually distinguished by its round shape and the fact that it has a defined edge, while eczema can be more varied in terms of shape and size. Ringworm also tends to be itchy, whereas eczema may not always be itchy. Finally, ringworm will often have small black dots in the center of the ring, while eczema will not.

Symptoms of Ringworm vs. Nummular Eczema

While both conditions can present as itchy, red, and scaly there are some distinct differences in each condition including longevity and transmission.

Ringworm Symptoms

  • Rash that is round and has a defined edge
  • Itching, which may be severe
  • May have small black dots in the center of the rash
  • Can spread to other parts of the body very easily
  • Rash that is red and dry, can be scaly and may look like the skin has been burned
  • Itching, which is often not severe unless caused by an allergic reaction or other cause of eczema flare-ups
  • May not have a round shape but can occur in different areas on one person at once if they are exposed to something that causes them to break out (like poison ivy)
  • Ringworm can spread to other parts of the body and is contagious to others, especially with skin-to-skin contact.

Eczema symptoms Include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
  • Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
  • Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching

Eczema is not contagious and typically lasts longer than ringworm. Many individuals have chronic eczema, which means it can last for years or a lifetime. It is common for eczema to flare up in intensity. This difference is one of the most crucial in both identifying and treating eczema and ringworm

Treatment options for Ringworm and Eczema

It is important to choose the right treatment for your specific skin condition. As you can imagine if the goal is to stop the itching and discomfort let a doctor make the call!

Ringworm treatment:

Ringworm is a fungal infection, so the treatment focuses on killing the fungus. This can be done with over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medications.

Eczema treatment:

There are many different treatments for eczema, depending on its cause. If you have allergies, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines for you. You can also try topical corticosteroids or other types of steroids that are applied directly to the area affected by eczema (topical) but these may have some side effects and should not be used too often, especially in children. Some people find relief from taking oral antihistamines like Zyrtec, Benadryl, Claritin, and Allegra or allergy shots. If you have a severe case of eczema, your doctor may prescribe oral steroids.

Frequently Asked Questions :

How can I tell the difference between ringworm and eczema? Ringworm is often round in shape, itchy, and has black dots at its center. Eczema symptoms include redness, dry skin, swelling of the affected area, oozing, and crusting if scratched.

If I had a fungus that causes ringworm on my skin, can it spread to other parts of my body? Yes, ringworm can spread to other parts of the body and is contagious to others, especially with skin-to-skin contact.

What are some ways I can prevent spreading fungus or my eczema? It’s important that you keep your nails trimmed short because scratching an itchy rash will only make it worse and may cause infection if your nails are long. Also, keep your hands away from your face and wash them thoroughly with soap and water after using the restroom or changing a diaper.

Apply moisturizer to dry areas of skin immediately following a bath or shower to help lock in moisture (as well as fragrance-free baby oil). You can also try taking an oatmeal bath to relieve your itching and dry skin.

Avoid washing bedding frequently as doing so can also irritate the rash-causing a reaction that is worse than before. If you need to wash sheets or clothing because of body fluids like urine or feces, use bleach instead of detergent for extra protection against bacteria and fungus spores.

What is the difference between eczema and ringworm? Ringworm is a fungal infection, so it typically has an itch that lasts for less than two weeks. Eczema can last longer (up to years) and often flares up in intensity or changes location on your body. Since fungus grows best when there are high levels of moisture, you can reduce some of the itching by reducing your body’s moisture level (like taking showers instead of baths).

Can ringworm and eczema be prevented?

Yes, many cases of ringworm are preventable by practicing good hygiene and keeping clean. If you have eczema, avoid scratching the affected skin to reduce your risk of infection or spreading it to other parts of your body.

Can I get rid of my itchy rash with home remedies? Keep in mind that some treatments like oatmeal baths, antihistamine lotions or supplements, and steroids are available over the counter. If you have ringworm, it is important to take antifungal medications as prescribed by your doctor so that the infection clears up quickly (preferably within a few days). If you do not feel better in two weeks after taking an oatmeal bath, taking allergy medication, and using a steroid cream, or if your rash is getting worse after two weeks of treatment you should see a doctor.

When to seek treatment at Urgent Care?

If you have severe symptoms that do not improve after two weeks of treatment at home, if the rash is spreading to other parts of your body or a family member shows signs and symptoms of ringworm on their skin, then it’s time to seek care. It’s important to see someone for an evaluation as soon as possible because fungal infections can spread to other parts of your body like your lungs, ears, or throat.

If you have questions or seeking care about ringworm or eczema treatment options at University Urgent Care and book an appointment today!

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