Worms and Germs is posting about ringworm and will have a follow-up ( thank you!) Ringworm: skin fungus by any other name http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2008/10/articles/animals/dogs/ringworm-skin-fungus-by-any-other-name/
Ringworm Part 2: Cleaning Up from Worms and Germs
— Cleaning and Disinfecting in Shelters This is from the University of California Davis, Koret Shelter Medicine Program.
I never expected ringworm to be a concern here, but it relates to Lysol / Dettol and to mass evacuations and shelters and recovery. Good questions, readers! Unfortunately, good information about controlling environmental contamination (something beyond the platitudes) still isn’t readily available from the Internet.
See earlier Ringworm questions:
“Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus. Ringworm can affect skin on your body (tinea corporis), scalp (tinea capitis), groin area (tinea cruris, also called jock itch), or feet (tinea pedis, also called athlete’s foot).”
If an infected child plays on the couch with another child, then there may be a transfer of the fungus from child to couch to child. But fungus likes damp. Couches normally aren’t damp and children normally don’t play under the cushions on a couch (where dampness can linger).
Beds and clothing are another matter because the materials stay damp longer.
Regular vacuuming and airing of pillows and the couch itself should help prevent transfer (micro-organisms will die in inhospitable environments). If the couch has colorfast non-porous materials, you could try spraying with Lysol room spray (the disinfecting alcohol spray). But you have to leave the spray on long enough to be effective and then allow the couch to dry. Using a clean damp cloth followed by a clean dry cloth might be just as effective.
Even better would be to use a slip cover that can be washed. The pillow covers can be washed in hot water.
If the couch is moldy or damp, (not just the pillow or cushions) then it should be replaced. Some of the molds can create a form that would last in between drying out and then be ready to “bloom” when the couch is damp again.
Damp couches and mattresses would be the second most difficult clean-up problem after a flooding disaster. Damp house walls, ceilings, and flooring is the worst, I would think. Maybe some readers have better answers than mine.
Boulder Colorado suggests
revention Recommendations * Cover lesions * Wash bedding, towels, and clothes * Do not share towels, hats, hair brushes, or other personal items with those infected * Regularly scrub showers with fungicide or bleach * Exclude those infected from gyms, pools, and contact sports * Check pets * Treat infections * Wash hands frequently
The National Library of Medicine (with lovely pictures) also suggests
To prevent ringworm: * Keep your skin and feet clean and dry. * Shampoo regularly, especially after haircuts. * Do not share clothing, towels, hairbrushes, combs, headgear, or other personal care items. Such items should be thoroughly cleaned and dried after use. * Wear sandals or shoes at gyms, lockers, and pools. * Avoid touching pets with bald spots.
I would definitely recommend adding shower shoes or Zories / flip-flops / jandals / thongs to one’s personal evacuation bag. see What’s in a doctor’s disaster backpack
Resources for damp environments–
see previous post Top 50 reading list for emergency management
The National Library of Medicine keeps getting better as a resource–
“Enviro-Health Links – Hurricanes: Links to Health Information Including Toxicology and Environmental Health”
Lysol / Dettol posts here
Planning for “infectious disease shelters” in the Unorganized Borough, Alaska
Digger the dermatophyte
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