Etiquette/safety question about ringworm
April 21, 2013 5:32 PM   Subscribe

From the "stuff I forgot to ask my doctor about" department: Ugh, I have a ringworm rash on my wrist. I have econazole nitrate cream prescribed by my doctor that I'm using twice a day as prescribed. But what do I need to do to avoid infecting friends and strangers?

I've heard conflicting reports about whether using topical creams can prevent it from spreading. And I don't have a good mental model of how contaigous it is, or how it spreads. Do I avoid touching that wrist to other people's furniture? Public transit surfaces? Should I refrain from sharing a bed with someone until it's cleared up? Should I keep it covered with clothing or band-aids? I want to be cautious and respectful of others without feeling like a gross contaminated thing. Help me, metafilter!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
WHEN I HAD RINGWORM... just to get that out of the way... My doc basically said act like a normal person and be concerned about things like towels, sheets, clothing, skin contact. The big deal is that if you do give it to a person or a pet or a personal item that way (like sharing a bed), you can get it back from that thing which is a huge pain in the ass. I had it all over so I took pills for mine and it cleared up very quickly and I did not take any really special precautions other than being careful about towels, pets and bed sharing.
posted by jessamyn at 6:24 PM on April 21, 2013

We had a little ringworm epidemic in our house a few years ago, introduced by a prodigal cat. We had two creams, one for the little kid, and one for the rest of us, and just made sure to put cream on anything that looked fishy, and to check OFTEN for sores. We washed our hands a lot, and didn't share towels etc. Even with two adults, two kids, and a cat with ringworm, it did clear up. I read a lot of scary internet advice that made it sound like we'd have to burn the house to the ground to get rid of it, but it really wasn't bad at all.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 6:38 PM on April 21, 2013

I was advised to keep my affected areas (yes, areas... sigh....) covered at all times not only by a bandaid, but also by gauze or an ace bandage. I was also told not to go into pools but that might have been overkill (I avoided pools regardless). I also still slept in the same bed as my then-boyfriend, we still had sex, and mostly I just made sure that the affected areas never came uncovered whenever possible. It spreads like wildfire IME, though, so I was hyper vigilant about nuking all my towels and bed linens as often as possible (and those of the ex). Don't reuse bath towels for a while if you're normally in the habit of doing so. That's pretty much how mine spread I think. :(

Also, IDK where yours is, but trust me, nothing is as bad as discovering it first on your neck, then under your nose, and then on the inside of your freaking thigh right near important soft parts. Woe.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:57 PM on April 21, 2013

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