When it comes to preventing ringworm, the two important points you need to focus on are your health and surroundings. Just as you need to eat nutritious food to fight off fungi, you also need to keep your surroundings clean to prevent fungi from growing. Having a clean home will keep your relatives and pets safe from fungi, too.
Top 4 Foods That May Help Fight Ringworm
Although they won't make you immune from the disease, consuming the following foods may help you avoid ringworm or improve your body’s ability to fight it off.
• Coconut oil: Replacing your regular cooking oil with coconut oil can reap benefits for you and your family’s health. In one study, lauric acid, which is a main component of coconut oil, exhibited anti-dermatophyte properties.1
• Papaya: One of the strongest points of papaya is its vitamin C content, which is an incredible 144 percent of the daily recommended value.2 Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has been shown to inhibit the growth of common fungal species, such as Candida albicans.3
• Garlic: According to a study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, ajoene, an active compound found in garlic, contains antifungal properties,5 which may be helpful against ringworm.
Protecting Your Home Against Ringworm
Below are some important house-cleaning tips that will help stop ringworm-causing fungi from spreading:
• Your shower or bathtub can be a breeding ground for dermatophytes due to the mixture of heat and moisture, so it's important to clean your bathroom regularly. One effective cleaning method is to spray it with vinegar. This may also stop molds from forming.6,7
• Never share towels with other people to minimize fungi from spreading. Washing your towels once a week is enough to keep them free from fungi, but to protect against bacteria such as staph, I recommend washing towels in hot water after two or three uses. When washing for the second time with detergent, add a cup of white vinegar to clean the fabric thoroughly. Don’t use dryer sheets and fabric softeners, as these products can hinder your towel’s ability to absorb liquid.
• Change your sheets once a week and wash them in hot water, at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the recommended temperature to effectively kill fungi.8
• Your family and pets walk on your carpet daily, which can turn it into a breeding ground for fungi. Spray your carpet with a natural antifungal spray and then use a safe carpet cleaner and hot water to further kill the fungi.9 If you can, avoid carpeting altogether in favor of less toxic flooring surfaces (like hardwood, bamboo, stone or tile). If not, it’s important to know how to “green” your carpet.
• Use vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters. In a study published by the Journal of Environmental Health and Research, researchers found that regularly vacuuming furniture and carpets led to lower levels of fungi growth when HEPA filters were used.10
Other General Tips to Prevent Ringworm11
• Avoid sharing your clothing. If you know that someone else used your clothes, wash them and use new ones.
• Wear slippers or shower shoes when in public locker rooms or bathing areas to protect yourself from athlete's foot.
• Dry yourself properly after showering to prevent leftover moisture from harboring fungi.