The Rotten Ringworm Runaround

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Categories Attitude, Balance, Infants, Perspective, Pets, Routines, School-AgeTags , , , ,

M snuggling her new kitten.We adopted this sweet little boy into our family in November. We also unwittingly adopted the ringworm he brought with him from the animal shelter. While our new kitten, Scout, has brought us much joy and laughter, his ringworm has brought with it a reign of tears and terror.

I’ve learned several things about ringworm:

  • Ringworm isn’t a worm. It’s a fungus. Either way, it’s nasty and gross and, like lice, something that can’t be completely avoided just by keeping a clean home and maintaining good hand-washing habits. If your child interacts with others, she runs the risk of bringing home lice; if your pet has ever been outdoors, he runs the risk of ringworm.
  • Some strains of ringworm defy all attempts at identification. Our little boy’s failed to glow under UV light and didn’t initially make his fur fall out, so the vet misinterpreted the lesion I pointed out at our first visit as a bite from another kitten at the shelter and gave the all-clear for him to interact with my kids. I should trust my gut.
  • This stuff is contagious. All three of the humans in our house had a red itchy patch or two within 3 days of the new kitten’s cuddles.
  • Washing bedsheets every night, plus vacuuming and disinfecting even a single room every day is overwhelming and all-consuming.
  • A ringworm infection to the scalp can’t be treated with topical ointments alone. My poor little J had a bald spot on her head, which I’m thankful can be hidden inside pigtails as it grows out. Our pediatrician referred us to a dermatologist, and J now has a nightly bowl of ice cream to mask the taste of the pulverized pill (griseofulvin) she has to take every day for a month.

We’ve literally been fighting this thing since November. The kitten received weekly lyme sulfur dips as well as a liquid suspension of the same meds J is now on. He’s currently completely free of ringworm, but has to stay in isolation in my bathroom. He was clear in January, too, but I made the mistake of letting him interact with the girls, and he contracted a fresh round of ringworm from them. Thankfully, our adult cats have thus far made it without become hosts for this nasty parasite.

M has developed eczema on the spots where ringworm used to reside, and J is beginning to do so too. We’re all using antifungal shampoo, just in case. I’m exhausted, and I hardly have the energy to give the kitten the attention he needs once my human children are in bed.

A pharmacy worth of medications is accompanied by a typed schedule with a column for each of 6 people and cats.I’ve trotted out a technique I used with newborn infants. I’ve written up our medication schedule and posted it by the meds.

I keep reminding myself that all this is nothing compared to what we went through after bringing our 33-week preemies home 6 years ago. The need to keep on top of a schedule and maintain a sanitary environment was much more critical then. I was getting way less sleep. I had far less experience. This ringworm stuff is child’s play in comparison.

When the girls were babies, I had a notebook in which I wrote down every diaper change and every feeding, since in my sleep-deprived state, I feared double feeding one baby and forgetting to feed the other. It also helped coordinate things between me and my husband. I’d take my notebook with me to visits with the pediatrician.

This ringworm thing? I don’t need a notebook to keep track.

This, too, shall pass.

What techniques have you developed to manage parenting multiples? How do they translate to the rest of your life?

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Sadia

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

4 thoughts on “The Rotten Ringworm Runaround”

  1. I have the same basic perspective as you Sadia. When I was trapped in the only bathroom in a Starbucks for 45 minutes while my naked 2 year olds WOULD.NOT.PUT.ON.THEIR.CLOTHES and the other customers were all impatiently banging on the door, I remember thinking, “yeah, but this is still not as bad as the first three months with infant twins.” And it really did make me feel better.

  2. I like your perspective! My boys are just turning 4 months and one of them has been on an NG feeding tube since he was 6 weeks old, and man, I can’t wait for the day when I can say, “Hey, this is nothing compared to that time!” :-) Oh yes, we also keep the “poop journal” which is crucial when bouncing the boys between my house and my mom’s house where they are cared for while I’m at work. And CONSTANT communication with all care providers (me, my husband, my parents, our friend who helps us out 2 nights a week). I feel like the captain of a ship and they are my crew!

  3. Oh boy! With only one baby I never needed to “keep track”, but with the twins I paid for an app called Baby Connect even before they were born. Best $1.99 I ever spent!

  4. Ringworm is insentient! Ointments and creams seem to only shrink it back then it rears its ugly head a week or two later. The only sure fire cure I have found is directly sunlight. Let the infected area see direct sunlight for 15-20 minutes a couple of times and hopefully it will go away! Good luck!

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