Today’s Rant: Ringworm is the Ring WORST!

(Yes, I know that the title has more cheese than baked ziti, but this Renata will take pride in all of the Ricotta she’s got!)

Guess what, guys? It’s summer, and that means that I finally have the chance to break out my summer wardrobe! I am especially excited to be able to do so this year since ringworm plagued me the ENTIRE season last summer!

For those of you who have never had ringworm, it’s pretty much the worst. It’s this really irritating (pun totally intended) fungus that spreads like crazy, feels impossible to get rid of, and is just generally itchy. I noticed it on my arm for the first time May of last year. It was just an itchy rash on my left arm at first. An innocent, itchy rash. No big deal, I thought,  skin gets itchy and irritated all the time, it will go away.

This was my first mistake. Since I didn’t take the time to diagnose it and go through the proper medical channels to take care of it, I just scratched it like crazy and allowed it to stay on any clothing that I wore. Leaving it be wasn’t exactly the worst thing that I could do, though. No, the worst thing would be to indiscriminately scratch the ringworm and then scratch wherever else on my body happened itch at the moment, meaning that the ringworm would spread. To over 20 places on my body.

Yes, you read that correctly, I had more than 20 itchy ringworm spots on my body at one point. Adulting: 1, Renata: 0.

One of the things about ringworm is that, since it’s so contagious, you can basically catch it by touching anything that someone who has it has touched. I could have gotten it anywhere. Since it’s so common, it should be easy to get rid of, right? No way, my life can never be that easy!

My immediate instinct was to buy ringworm cream from the CVS, which worked very slowly and stained all of my clothes. The cream couldn’t be rubbed all the way into your skin and took forever to dry, making the staining unavoidable. So I decided to take another route. I googled other techniques that people had tried to get rid of it, and I found that…there were a bunch of people who just suffered from it for years and couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it.

I decided to speak with a doctor after the second spot popped up. I used one of those services where I could FaceTime a doctor and show them the spots on my skin. I spent $40 for them to tell me to just keep using the over-the-counter cream and that they weren’t able to give me anything better. I had heard about a pill that I could take, but the doctor told me that they wouldn’t prescribe me the pill without a blood test to see how healthy my liver was. Yeah, no, I’ll take the itching over possible liver failure, thank you!

I started trying these new techniques and re-googling more techniques every few days when I felt that they weren’t working. This was especially difficult because I didn’t just have one small spot to treat. I think it bears repeating that I had More. Than. Twenty. Spots. All. Over. My. Body.

One person had recommended applying Delsum Blue shampoo to the affected areas. So I basically covered myself in Delsum Blue. I looked like an extra from Avatar. Just in case you want to know what it feels like to be covered in shampoo, I’ll tell you: it feels cold. Very cold. And you have to be really conscious of what you and your limbs touch because you turn everything you touch blue. That is, if the shampoo that you’re using is, you know, blue.

The treatment that seemed to work the best, though, was tea tree oil. My mom uses essential oils all of the time, so she was able to make me a tea tree oil and lavender roller that I could use on my ringworm spots. This mix worked the best all-around — it made the spots fade quickly, and absorbed into my skin fast so it didn’t stain my clothing. But you’ll bet that I didn’t stop using that oil until about two weeks after those spots were gone. I was not risking them coming back.

Ringworm is especially problematic for people like me who use “The Chair” method for laundry. Considering the fact that “The Chair” is used for clothing that isn’t fully clean and you want to wear again, I just continued to rewear clothing without thinking, transferring the ringworm back onto my skin over and over. It wasn’t until I was regularly washing everything after only one wear and I was using tea tree oil every day that the ringworm even started to fade, and eventually went away.

I was finally able to get rid of it by September, but, at that point, it was time to pack up my summer wardrobe and begin getting ready for chilly weather. I had spent all summer rotating the same three dresses that I didn’t mind getting ringworm cream or tea tree oil on. I’m understandably excited to wear all of my summer clothes this year.

Nevertheless, as you may have noticed, I haven’t learned my lesson in the slightest — I still re-wear clothes frequently and panic every time that I feel itchy. Ringworm really sucks, and I would recommend avoiding it at any cost. Unless that cost is doing your laundry after every wear. In that case, you should just continue as you’re doing and hope for the best!

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