Remember primary school and all the little kids with Craw-craw? Even if you attended the most Ajeh butter of schools, there must have been one little boy with scaly looking skin, itching and scratching away. And all the time he’s scratching, you find yourself terrified that some of the unseen craw-craw will drop on you and give you the dreaded itch too. If you were among those who ostracized the little boy or girl with craw-craw, give yourself a resounding slap as you read this article.
The term craw-craw was devised by our elders from way back. It is simply skin irritation of varying degrees and causes especially relating to poor hygiene. There is no particular disease called craw-craw; it’s merely dry skin, skin rashes or skin irritation that causes the person to itch. If you ever had it, you would have noticed how awesome it felt when you scratched it, and the more you scratched, the more it burnt. Ouch!!!
Causes of craw-craw
The commonest rash that was referred to as craw-craw is ringworm. It is so called because of its ring-like shape and appearance on the skin, groin or scalp. Ringworm is not caused by worms but by fungi.
In the olden days, parents scrapped the lesion with a blade and rubbed portions which ranged from aloe Vera to mint/basil leaves, whether it worked or not, I do not know. Fungus is a group of spore-producing organisms that invade and grow in the outer layer of skin, hair and nails.
There are three different kinds of fungi can cause skin infections. These fungi live for a long periods in the soil and only cause infections when it comes in contact with breached skin or a person with lowered immunity or a conducive environment that allows it thrive. Both humans and animals can be infected. The infection may also spread through direct contact with infected humans or animals and typically spreads among children especially boys. Sharing toys, towels, sleeping on the same sheets and other items as well as poor hygiene are the common methods of spreading the infection.
Any person can develop craw-craw, however, people and children who have pets, especially cats are more susceptible. The fungus can infect your skin, scalp and feet. On the skin and scalp, they are referred to as ringworm but as athletes foot when it affects the spaces between the toes.
You may also be susceptible to craw-craw if you use a public shower stall barefoot, if you wear damp underwear or clothes. Those who regularly share personal items such as unwashed clothing and hairbrushes also have a bigger risk of contracting the infection.
Symptoms of craw-craw
Symptoms of craw-craw can vary depending on the particular spot on the body that is infected. With an infection on the skin, you can experience any of the following;
- Scaly, red, itchy, or raised patches on the skin.
- Patches that turn into blisters or begin to bring out pus.
- Patches that may be inflamed on the outside areas or look like a ring.
- Patches with edges which are raised and defined.
Fungal infections of your nails, might cause the nail to become discolored, thicker or begin to crack.
Prevention and treatment
You can prevent craw-craw by practicing hygienic and healthy behaviors. A lot of infections come from direct contact with people and animals and also lack of appropriate hygiene. Remember always to wash your hands after playing with an animal. For people who have a pet, ensure that its living areas are cleaned and disinfected. If your immune system is weak, avoid any individual or animal who is suspected of having craw-craw.
In terms of personal maintenance, you should bath and shampoo your hair on a regular basis. Wear shoes when you shower in public places. Avoid sharing personal items like hairbrushes or clothing, as these may carry infective spores. Ensure that you keep your skin and feet clean and dry.
Your health care provider may recommend both some lifestyle adjustments and medications to treat ringworm.
The doctor may recommend various medications, all depending on the seriousness of the ringworm infection. Ketoconazole is one of the prescription strength creams that is commonly used to treat these fungal infections. Other over-the-counter medications, as well as skin creams, may be prescribed for use also. Over-the-counter creams may contain miconazole and clotrimazole or other related ingredients.
In addition to these prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs, a doctor may prescribe that you take care of the infection at home by following some of these actions;
- Avoid dresses, which irritates the inflamed area.
- Wash, properly sun dry and iron the bedding and clothes regularly during the infection.
- Cleaning and drying the skin
If you have been scraping or scratching vigorously, your skin may become secondarily infected by bacteria, causing the formation of pus. In this case your doctor will recommend antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection while you continue the treatment for the craw-craw.
Other causes skin problems that may be classed as craw-craw
- Eczema: Red, blotchy and itchy skin
- Allergic dermatitis
- Viral infections such as chickenpox or rubella
- Prickly Heat
Craw-craw is commoner in children though some adults may contract it too.
To help prevent rashes, identify and avoid things that irritate your skin and use only lotions and cosmetics that have hypoallergenic compounds if you are susceptible to allergies.
Other methods that might be useful include good personal hygiene, showering at least twice every other day using warm water rather than very hot or cold water. Also use gentle cleansers instead of harsh soaps, and practice patting the skin dry rather than rubbing. Pat dry the groin area before wearing your under garments to avoid creating a dark damp conducive environment for fungus to thrive.
Learning some relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can also help reduce stress as