Monday, March 14, 2016

Battling Ringworm

  Not one of the more pleasant topics to write about.  I've mentioned quite a few times that I had been battling 'stuff' for a while now.  Well, I think I am ready to share what I've learned so far.  I am not 100% clear.  I have a couple of 'hot spots' that may be left over fungus, OR some scarring from some of the more extreme things I tried to get rid of it!

Back in June (2015), I spied the horrid red "O".  At that time I had two or three, all under my arms.  Having dealt with this on two other occasions with various children, I knew right off the bat some things that would NOT work.  After our last episode (years ago) we gotten a hold of some Nystatin.  That cleared things up within a couple of days!

We did not have insurance at the time, so I was going to have to make do tackling this on my own.  I tried all sorts of things.  Tea Tree oil, oregano oil (that will burn!), neem oil, and even bleach.  I found that leaving things on contact with a wipe did better than just rubbing some on.  This was taking a tole on me since I had to do this multiple times a day.

We finally got insurance, and had the money for a doctors visit.  This was sometime around Sept. or Oct.  By then I had multiple rashes over my body.  He wanted to give me an oral medication, but I am still nursing, so we decided using a topical would be best.  He gave me two prescriptions.  He told me the first one he gave me was going to be more expensive, so I asked for Nystatin, since it worked so great the last time.

I went with the Nystatin because the other medicine, with insurance, was going to cost $140!!  I can't begin to tell you how excited I was to drive home with that bottle of cream!  The last thing I needed was a house full of children with ringworm.  So I had been very careful in how I bathed, using baby wipes, so I could throw them away.  I had to dry off in a certain order in hopes to avoid spreading this on myself any more than it already had.  Then I had to wash all my clothing and towels in hot water (I increased our water heaters base temp. so that it would be hot enough to kill it off in the washer, but not hot enough for anyone to get burned if they were using the sink/tub.).

After about 4 or 5 days my rashes started to itch like crazy!!!  I knew that this meant either really good things, or really bad things!  In my case, it meant bad things.  My rashes were going into hyper mode and growing!  So back to my other natural, or in the case of the bleach, not so natural options, since it seemed to be keeping things at bay.  However, that one week of using the prescription led to things spreading :-(

I was at the feed store one day when I asked if they had anything for ringworm, that may prove safe for humans. I have heard that a lot of meds for animals (not all!!) are made for humans and animals in the same facility, split at the end to go into different packaging.  Anyways, they had something.  I looked up online, and they do indeed have a human version, but the animal version is just cheaper.  What I got was called Vetericyn.  Now this did make a big difference.

Things started to clear up.  As an aside, I knew this would be a battle, due to the mold in our house.  My immune system is down because of that, which is why I probably caught ringworm in the first place.  Again, I noticed bigger improvements if I held wipes sprayed down with the Vetericyn on my skin for 30 minutes at a time.  But again, though it was improving, it wouldn't clear up.

We had a change in medical insurance so I asked for my doctor to prescribe me another cream, and an oral (I wanted that as a back up).  This time our insurance had better coverage, so I didn't have to pay so much.  I talked to the pharmacist about the oral medication and the fact that I was still nursing.  She was surprised that the doctor had prescribed it since she says it isn't considered safe.  Though she said it is prescribed as a last resort, and if I waited 5 hours after nursing, things should be ok.  Ugh, not what I wanted to hear.

I went home and slathered on the cream (ok, not really, as you are only supposed to put a thin layer on).  And, you might be able to guess this by now, but 4 or 5 days later, big time itching all over again!!!!  I cried.  I really, really did.  I remember staring at the oral medication bottle and praying.  I knew that with the track record I just had with using the creams, AND after reading online that many women find that once they stop the oral antifungal, their rashes just come right back, the oral medication would probably be a failure as well. I felt that the risk to my own health, let alone that of Merida's wasn't worth it.

But then I remembered something I had read in a homesteading book, written by Ben Hewitt, called Nourishing Homestead.  He wrote how each winter his cows would get ringworm.  After a few years of this, and learning more on how to take care of his animals, he figured it was a nutrient deficiency.  He started giving them free choice kelp.  Ever since then his cows have been ringworm free.  I looked in my pantry stock of herbs.  There on the shelf was a glass jar of spirulina.  I had bought it two years ago, hoping to add it to my goats feed.  For some reason that never happened.

I started adding almost 2 tsp of the spirulina to my morning smoothie.  Well, the morning smoothies started because I needed something to put my spirulina in :-)  I add other greens like kale, spinach and chard.  Needless to say, besides those couple of 'hot spots' EVERYTHING cleared up within that first week!!  In the week before I started to spirulina, I had 5 new rashes develop, FIVE!  So the fact that all those, and my other ones are totally gone, is nothing short of miraculous.

My next step is to purchase some more spirulina (I'm running low) and some kelp.  We've started on another supplement that is supposed to help heal your gut lining, and I will be having my alternative health 'machine' showing up on my doorstep this week.  But those things will be to help my overall health, and not so much the ringworm, as that is not an issue at this point.  Again, my body still needs a bit more, since I have these couple of hot spots left, but I am certain that the added spirulina is what finally helped me.

One very BIG step we need to take is to get rid of the mold in our house.  Jeremiah killed it off as recommended to us by the mold removal company.  But we need to go through the attic and get rid of all sources of dead mold, and then do a major cleaning downstairs.  I am sure with all of those things checked off those hot spots will be a thing of the past.  (These hot spots do not itch, are not actual "O"s, --though there are two that are light pink in the shape of a filled in circle--. and anyone who wasn't told I had ringworm would even consider those areas to be ringworm.  I just know that is where some of my ringworm rashes were, so they are areas I am keeping an eye on.)

All I know is that it was very refreshing to use an actual cloth washcloth in the shower and to be able to towel off without having to do so in a certain order.

I try to tell myself that I've gone through all these things with these different types of "bugs" for a reason, but it's not always pleasant to deal with it on a daily basis.  As a side note, ringworm, is NOT a worm, it is a fugal rash, just like athlete's foot.

Now for my disclaimer:  This is what worked (or didn't work) for me!  I am sharing this information with those who may be interested.  Please do your own homework, and talk to a trusted health care professional to see what your situation warrants.

My new BFF :-)  It may be two years old, but it is still potent.  It will be interesting to see how green the new batch will be compared to this batch.

You can see I keep a child's liquid medicine cup in here to measure out what I need.  This stuff is so powdery that it gets ALL over when trying to get a scoop.  And since we are always loosing our regular teaspoons, I went for the medicine up.


Jeremiah Pechin said...

I'm so sorry that you've had to deal with this. It makes my heart ache to know that this has brought you to tears. I have been hoping and praying that you wouldn't have to suffer through this any more. Praise God that you are coming to the end of it. Knock on wood, and throw salt over my shoulder and all that. :-)

Sarah Faith said...

So glad you remembered reading that about the cows! It's such a relief to see the end of an affliction!

Anonymous said...

I've had a spot of ringworm on my upper thigh since January. I've been applying cream since then, and I will be the first to admit I don't do it regularly like I should. It spread a bit, but just in that the original spot grew some.

I'm taking an alternative therapies in nursing class, and the professor is VERY into alternative remedies. Our last class focused on herbs and the Appalachia region and remedies they use. It also listed plant food medications. One of the suggestion is to take the green hull from a black walnut and apply the juice to the infected area. If you have access to black walnuts, it might be worth a try!

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