Ringworm (erythema infectiosum) is a viral disease that occurs primarily in children. It is highly contagious and is transmitted by droplet infection. A typical symptom is a red rash that can occur primarily on the face, but also on the arms, legs and torso. Ringelröteln usually take a harmless course and heal after a few weeks by itself again. In adults, especially in pregnant women, but also complications are possible.
Ringelrötel - What is it?
Ringworm are caused by parvovirus B19 and are distributed around the world. Just like measles, mumps, chickenpox and rubella, they are one of the typical teething troubles. Ringworm are often confused with normal rubella, but in fact they are an independent infectious disease.
Ring rubella are contagious. The virus is transmitted by droplet infection - for example, when coughing or sneezing. How long it takes after the infection, until the first symptoms occur (incubation period), is different: Most of the time is between four days and two weeks. The infected is already contagious during the incubation period, as soon as the first symptoms appear, the risk of infection is only slight.
Anyone who has suffered from ringworm is then immune to the disease for the rest of their lives. Since the symptoms are usually very weak, many sufferers do not know that they are ill. It is estimated that in Germany about half of the population is immune to ring rubella.
Red skin rash as a typical symptom
In the case of Ringelrötel, symptoms that are similar to those of a common cold are often noticeable. This can lead to fatigue, fever and body aches. The most characteristic symptom, a red rash, occurs only in about one in five patients.
The rash typically develops on the face in particular: large red spots appear on the right and left cheeks. By contrast, the chin, lips and nose are usually spared from the rash. In addition to the face, the rash can also occur on the arms, legs and torso. Often the spots here have a typical annular pattern: they have a red border and a lighter interior surface.
How strong the rash is and whether it goes along with itching or not is different. The same applies to the duration of the reddening of the skin: Most of the symptoms disappear after a few days, but sometimes they can last for several weeks. Often, the skin is scaly due to the rash and requires a particularly intensive care.
Ring rubella in adults
Ringelrötel are considered a harmless childhood disease, which usually subsides without consequences. Ringlets are usually not dangerous for adults as well. As you get older, you may experience more severe symptoms. This can cause swelling and inflammation of the hand and finger joints as well as the knees and ankles in adults.
Persons suffering from anemia or immunodeficiency, such as those with leukemia and those with a transplanted organ, may experience complications. Because the lack of red blood cells, which can be triggered by the rubella virus causes them more problems than healthy people.
Ringworm can become particularly dangerous during pregnancy: in about 20 percent of cases, the virus spreads to the unborn child, which can subsequently develop anemia. In the worst case, the virus can cause a miscarriage.
Ringworm are usually only noticed in children and adults when the typical red rash occurs. If this is missing, the disease usually remains undetected. If you discover an unusual rash in yourself or your child, a doctor can usually tell you by a quick check-up if it is ringworm or not.
Marigolds can be reliably diagnosed by a blood test: In the case of an infection, special antibodies form in the blood, which are detectable in the blood about ten days after the onset of the disease. In children, such a blood test is usually not necessary - it is usually only performed in pregnant women, as the viruses pose a particular danger to them.
As with most viral diseases, there is no treatment against the pathogens in ringworm. Symptomatic treatment is possible, but in many cases not necessary due to the mild course of the disease.
In high fever, antipyretic analgesics may be helpful. However, children should not be given medication with acetylsalicylic acid, as otherwise the life-threatening Reye syndrome may occur. If the skin rash causes severe itching, you can alleviate the symptoms by using an appropriate ointment from the pharmacy, such as a zinc lotion.
Unlike many other typical childhood illnesses, there is no vaccine against ringworm. You can only prevent the disease by avoiding contact with infected people. Pregnant women who do not have antibodies to the circulating rubella virus in the blood should, as a precaution, avoid contact with children in general.