Ringworm in Japan
November 14, 2011 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I have ringworm. I am in Japan. I want to avoid seeing a doctor, if possible. What medicine should I buy and how can I prevent this from happening again?

Other info: The ringworm has been there on and off since the summer, in my groin area. I am male, in my early 20's.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
lamisil or listerine will cure it.
posted by the cuban at 12:45 PM on November 14, 2011

I always heard that Iodine will take care of it fairly easily. Here seems to be info on how: http://www.livestrong.com/article/125407-treat-ringworm-iodine/
posted by cheeken at 12:48 PM on November 14, 2011

When our cats came down with ringworm, we were told to use athlete's foot cream if it made an appearance on humans in the household. In this case, an antifungal for jock itch might be in order. IANAD and I got the advice from a vet, so YMMV.
posted by rtha at 12:58 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Grapefruit seed extract has cured everything from jock-itch to dandruff on my skin, including a minor spot of ringworm.
posted by cmoj at 12:59 PM on November 14, 2011

Any over the counter anti-fungal cream, such as those used to treat athlete's foot, will work. I had a pretty bad case (thanks to a litter of equally infected cats), and my rashes went away within days using cream.

If you want to make sure it doesn't come back, wash whatever has touched the affected area well with hot water and soap.
posted by cgg at 1:07 PM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

My guess is that there are not many over-the-counter remedies for this condition (trust me, I've been there), although this product may help: 第一三共ヘルスケアの「ウィンダム」 - "Daiichi Sankyou Herusu Kea Windomu".

Probably best to print out the web-page in colour and take it to your pharmacy.

If "Windomu" doesn't work, my advice would be to visit a Chinese pharmacy (漢方) to see if they could help you.

Generally speaking, Kanpo is pretty cheap and pretty effective for skin conditions. Mention to them that you *think* you may have "hakusen" (白癬 - はくせん).
posted by KokuRyu at 1:24 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't know about listerine, but you want an antifungal, I would think. Find out the Japanese word from jock itch, and ask the pharmacy for a antifungal cream. It's going to take some time to get over it, and you want to keep applying the cream even after the visible symptoms are gone, for however long the pharmacist tells you to use it. (I thought I was supposed to use it for a month, but maybe my memory is wrong. Wikipedia says about two weeks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringworm#Treatment and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jock_itch) (Warning, there's pictures on that last link that are pretty cocktastic)

This might help, but I don't speak Japanese: http://www.eudict.com/index.php?lang=engjpk&word=ringworm%20(groin),%20tinea%20cruris
posted by Busoni at 1:33 PM on November 14, 2011

Here's another link: http://www.eudict.com/?lang=engjpk&word=groin%20rash%20(Tinea%20cruris),%20jock%20itch

Those cocktastic pictures on the wikipedia link suggest that jock itch doesn't actually look like ringworm, more like a general rash. So if there's an actual ring, I don't know if it makes a difference in terms of treatment. Probably not, but that's what you get for not going to a doctor.
posted by Busoni at 1:40 PM on November 14, 2011

My understanding is that skin stuff in the groin area can be hard for even doctors to diagnose properly and has the potential to have serious implications. A physician is probably a good idea if you can at all manage it.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:08 PM on November 14, 2011

I got this after coming to Japan too, I think the warm humid environment attracts all kinds of little fungi critters. It doesn't help that people don't use clothes dryers, because molds can start growing on your towels/laundry if it takes too long to air dry.

Anyways, I'd recommend using a separate towel for drying that area, and in the future use talc or gold bond powder or something, esp. in the summer to keep it dry all the time. There are OTC anti-fungal creams/sprays at the pharmacies here. I think they might be near arthritis and muscle pain creams. I forgot the kanji, but shouldn't be hard to look up in a dictionary. I'd shower, get the area TOTALLY dry, then apply topical medication.
posted by p3t3 at 2:13 PM on November 14, 2011

I had the same thing. Besides my advice above (and the excellent advice since then) I would also advise using plenty and plenty and plenty of talcum powder, and if you can get a relative to send you zinc powder, all the better.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:31 PM on November 14, 2011

Nthing generic topical antifungals. The jock itch and foot creams all have the same ingredients.

Prepare for a day of burning following by severe itching after application. Also, after beginning treatment, wash all your underthings in hot water + some amount of bleach to kill residual spores. Don't let the area get wet at all for the next few weeks or it will recur.
posted by benzenedream at 2:41 PM on November 14, 2011

Can you find this ointment in Japan?

Also, as others have said, try decolorized iodine. It won't stain your clothes or skin. I am not sure how close it is to the sensitive areas, so be careful if you decide to use iodine.
posted by Yellow at 4:02 PM on November 14, 2011

Go to a pharmacist (kusuriya or yakkyoku). They usually have a green cross out front.
Here's a google image page of pharmacies so you'll know what to look for.
Say "tamushi kusuri" (ringworm medicine) and point to your groin.
The pharmacist will sell you some medicine.
posted by vincele at 4:22 PM on November 14, 2011

You want whatever they sell for athlete's foot. It's probably been on and off because it was never really off--keep going with the meds for at least two weeks after you can no longer see a rash, but probably longer.

A warning, though: ringworm in your hair follicles can indeed be harder to treat, and often requires what in the US is a prescription for a liquid medicine you drink rather than applying to the spot. The medicine I know of is called griseofulvin.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:54 PM on November 14, 2011

It's worth noting that there are 2 common OTC topical antifungals: Tolnaftate (Tinactin) and Azole antifungals like Clotrimazole (Canesten/Lotrimin). Don't know what they are called in Japan. From what I can tell, Clotrimazole is effective against a wider range of fungi but is more expensive.

Antifungals work well, but note that they can take a while (1-2 weeks) compared to how fast you might expect, for instance, for antibiotics.
posted by goingonit at 8:44 PM on November 14, 2011

If it's coming back, it may be on your sheets. Do a google search: it's really common to be tranferred back to your skin from sheets/towels/some article of clothing.

Sorry, can't help with the name of OTC antifungals in Japan, but sounds like vincele has that covered anyway.
posted by thelastcamel at 10:22 PM on November 14, 2011

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