Ringworm is not actually a worm! It is a fungal infection of the skin known as a ‘tinea’ infection, commonly contracted from close contact with others such as at day cares, swimming pools and the gym.
Tinea can occur anywhere on the body and starts off as red, raised, very itchy bumps. Then it becomes dry and scaly as it heals from the inside out creating the appearance of a bright red ring, hence the common name ringworm.
How can you prevent a tinea infection?
1. Keep skin clean and dry. Be sure to towel off thoroughly after a shower and to change wet, sweaty clothing as soon as you can. Tinea thrives in dark, warm and moist environments.
2. Minimize sugar intake. Often internal imbalance of yeast can manifest as tinea outwardly on the skin. Sugar feeds the tinea and supports its growth.
3. Support a healthy immune system through a diet high in fruits and vegetables, ensuring your child has adequate sleep and exercise. A strong immune system will deal with tinea exposure before it has a chance to manifest as ringworm.
Once my child has a tinea infection what can I do?
1. Avoid direct contact with others as much as possible to avoid the spread of tinea.
2. Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil into 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil. Apply 2-3 times per day until the rash disappears and store the remainder in the fridge to use as needed. Tea tree is anti-microbial, meaning it has the ability to kill fungus, bacteria and viruses.
3. Botanical tinctures of echinacea and goldenseal help support your child’s immune system so it can deal with the tinea infection. Botanical tinctures are available at health food stores, be sure to use as directed based on your child’s age and weight.
4. Eat more raw garlic, raw onions and oregano. These are natural anti-microbials and support the immune system to balance yeast levels from the inside out.
5. Incorporate omega-3 containing foods to the diet for their anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties. Small fish such as anchovies, sardines and herring are super packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Or you could add a tablespoon of chia seeds, hemp hearts or freshly ground flaxseeds into your child’s cereal, oatmeal or smoothie for a plant based omega-3 boost.
Feel free to share your experience or tips for other natural methods for resolving tinea!