A guide to ringworm vs eczema

If you’ve recently found yourself wondering about the symptoms of ringworm vs eczema, you’re in the right place. Read on for symptoms and treatments of both.

If you don’t know much about skin disorders, it can be hard to tell the difference between ringworm vs eczema. However, they are very different conditions, so it’s important that you correctly identify the problem you have in order to treat it correctly.

Ringworn vs ezcema: identifying the problem

While both are skin conditions, ringworm and eczema have some key differences. Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, scaly patches on the skin and is fairly common. Alternatively, ringworm, which is much less common, is a fungal infection that results in itchy red patches as well as hair loss.

They are both skin conditions that can cause redness, itchiness and circular patches on the skin, so it’s easy to understand how people confuse the two (www.healthline.com/health/nummular-eczema-vs-ringworm). However, the treatments and consequences vary hugely, so it’s pivotal that you can spot the difference between them.

How to differentiate between ringworm and eczema

There are a few symptoms that vary between the two which can help you to work out which one you have.

Additional symptoms of eczema

Some of the symptoms of eczema that don’t occur if you have ringworm are dry skin all over the body and little red spots that turn into more prominent rashes across the skin. When it comes to eczema, some of the patches may be larger than 4 inches and could also be round.

Another difference is colour. If you are dealing with eczema, you will find that patches on the skin vary in colour. Often they are red but they can also be brown, pink, or yellow. If patches are yellow or crusty, this may be an indication that you have an infection, in which case it is important that you go to a doctor quickly to get treatment.

With eczema, you will experience mild to severe itchiness which can, in extreme cases, be so irritable that it keeps you up at night scratching. You could also feel a burning sensation in the affected patches.

Additional symptoms of ringworm

It can be harder to identify ringworm since it has much fewer symptoms to differentiate it. The most obvious symptom of ringworm is that it appears as red rings along the skin. Furthermore, with ringworm, it’s common to have just one spot of irritated skin, while eczema usually has multiple patches.

When it comes to colour, there are some differences. If you have ringworm, the affected areas don’t vary in colour. Plus, the patches don’t burn and in some cases, they don’t even itch.

Differences in treatment

The treatment also varies when you’re looking at ringworm vs eczema, which is part of the importance of identifying which one you are dealing with. The first course of action should always be to see a medical professional, but just so you know what you should expect, here are the ways each condition is usually treated.

How to treat ringworm

The very first thing you should do is speak to a pharmacist. They will look at the rash and be able to recommend the best antifungal medicine. This could be a cream, gel or spray but that depends on where the rash is. If you need an antifungal medicine, it is likely you will have to apply it every day for up to 4 weeks. It’s important that you use it for the right amount of time, even once the rash has gone away, as this will prevent reoccurrence.

A pharmacist will also tell you if they think you should go to a GP. You might have to see a GP if your ringworm infection has not improved after using the antifungal medicine. If you have ringworm on your scalp, you may also need prescription antifungal tablets and shampoo. Furthermore, you will have to see a GP if you have a weakened immune system e.g., if you have had chemotherapy, are diabetic or take steroids (www.nhs.uk/conditions/ringworm/).

How to treat eczema

There are a number of different types of eczema, including contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema and neurodermatitis, but the most common is atopic eczema. In order to diagnose this, your GP may need to ask you some questions, like when the symptoms first began, whether the rash is itchy and where it appears, whether it comes and goes over time and whether there’s a history of atopic eczema in your family. Make sure you’re prepared to answer these questions when going to the GP to make the process smoother.

Eczema is a much longer-term issue, so ordinarily, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema, you will have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months as well as some of the symptoms, including visibly irritated red skin in the creases of your skin, a history of skin irritation, dry skin in the last 12 months or a history of asthma or hay fever.

There is no specific cure for eczema, but it can usually be made bearable by reducing scratching and avoiding triggers as well as applying moisturising treatments and topical corticosteroids. These are typically used to reduce swelling, redness and itching when you experience flare-ups.

Where to get the right medication

It’s never been easier to get the treatment you need thanks to the team at VMS Pharmacy (vsmpharmacy.co.uk/contact-us/). You can order your repeat prescription online (vsmpharmacy.co.uk/repeat-prescriptions/) and either pop in-store to pick it up or choose our delivery option. Note, it’s best to order a repeat prescription at least 5 days before you’re due to run out of your current medication. We serve patients in Camberley, Farnborough and Frimley.

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