Wednesday, May 31, 2006

the heartbreak of ringworm

This falls under the category of "no good deed goes unpunished." I catsat someone else's 3 foster cats over Xmas, and they were supposedly not contagious any more after recovering from ringworm. The next thing I knew, one of our cats and my three year-old had ringworm.

First, I bathed all the cats with antifungal shampoo, what an ordeal (Iris learned the word "motherfucker" from observing). We steam cleaned the carpets in the two carpeted rooms. The cat has four prescriptions, meanwhile, a pediatrician told me to just wash Lola with Dial soap (quack! I know from my skin troubles that Dial is the worst thing to put on a sensitive skin!).

There's a big sign posted at Lola's preschool, "A Child Has Ringworm." So the drama, as six year old girls say.

Punitive Anton wanted me to shave the cat & keep him in a crate, like it says to do on a handout I got at the vet's.

Next IRIS contracted RINGWORM! The poor girl burst into tears when I affirmed she had ringworm. Anton went into a cat-hate rage and said he wanted to "wring all the cats' necks" for upsetting Iris. I pointed out drily that murdering her pets would be much more traumatic than a touch of the old ringworm, but he did not take the point.


I had to notify her school that a child had contracted ringworm. This is low on the embarrassment scale, though, given that 2 kindergarteners have had lice and there's a 4th grader with pinworms. However, I managed inadvertently to make our beloved kindergarten teacher look foolish, as I notified the front office without first notifying her. The office efficiently notified all parents by email that A Kindergartener Has Ringworm. At the end of the school day, a wound-up parent asked the teacher about this, and the poor teacher, having not yet checked her email, said, "Oh, there's no ringworm. Don't worry!" She was embarrassed by this, and I later apologized profusely.

Finally, I developed ringworm, along with the remaining two cats. Only cat-hating Anton remained untouched.

At some point I got many calls & emails from my foster kitten rescue asking me to take in a ringworm-infested kitten. I was thinking it might be logical to go for it, seeing as how we already have the problem, but Anton got pretty pissy when the subject was raised.

Finally we managed to procure some hard-to-find sulfur dip, which was reportedly a magical, albeit disgusting, cure. We mixed up a bucket of foul smelling yellow liquid on our tiny back deck and dunked all of the cats in turn. Anton really enjoyed this, in a sick way. "I'm working out my anger at the cats," he smiled.

Now, six months after the initial infestation: I think the only way to rid my house of ringworm spores would be to burn it down and disinfect the ashes. The cats still intermittently break out in little ringworm lesions.

Things I Have Learned: ringworm is not a worm. It is a fungus. In humans, it usually infests the groin area, and it is often referred to as "jock itch." Some vets think that if an animal has ringworm, it should be shaved, yea, verily down unto the infested whiskers, and kepteth in a crate for two months for lo this is a mighty plague. Other vets think that's an overreaction and instead you should pay $500+ for a variety of meds and blood tests (because the animal's kidneys liver can be affected by the meds) instead. You can treat your animal by dipping it in a bucket of water that smells like rotten eggs, but no one wants to sell you the sulfur mix.

Nobody says that when a person has ringworm, they should shave their head and live in a crate for 2 months and bathe in sulfur.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Iris was such a sport about ringworm and seems to have emerged relatively unscathed and stronger for it. I can't believe you had to suffer through it too - good thing the school doesn't demand calls when parents have ailments too. And your beloved (I was so happy to see that descriptor when I ctrl-F'ed the word teacher) teacher was not at all upset with you for forgetting to call her first. - Teacher

frank said...

Use natural creams, lotions, or even oils on the rash. This will help kill the fungus and heal the rash quickly. There are certain ingredients, such as special oils, honey, and many others that have powerful healing affects.
how to treat ringworm in humans