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Halloween is upon us again! We hope you know all about the health hazards that come with the creepiest holiday of the year, and that you'll avoid drunk driving, lots of candles around your house, and those infamous poison- or razor-filled candies (if they're for real). Of course, you have your healthy pumpkin recipes all picked out, and are looking forward to scaring or entertaining people with your costume.
The best Halloween costumes give people a real fright, but not for too long. The same is true for these rather scary-looking diseases that aren't nearly as bad as they look and sound.
Encounter a bunch of round, raised and sore-looking patches on your body — or someone else's — and you're almost guaranteed to freak out. Dermatophytosis can affect the whole body, from the scalp and face to the torso, groin, legs and feet. The patches start in a particular area and can then spread all over the place, accompanied by itching and later oozing and blistering.
Also commonly known as ringworm, Dermatophytosis has characteristic ring-like edges that can be felt. The name "ringworm" makes dermatophytosis sound even more frightening, but don't worry — this nasty-looking infection is fungal rather than parasitic in nature so no, those rings aren't worms or worm eggs developing under the skin, or anything like that.
A physical examination and some simple tests will confirm the diagnosis of ringworm, which comes from a fungus that's found in soil and is also very common in various mammals, including cats and goats. While it itches and looks nasty, a topical antifungal cream is all it takes to get read of dermatophytosis. Patients are also advised to wash all the clothes and bedding that came into contact with the fungus, to prevent reinfection.
You've probably heard that the physical appearance of your tongue says a lot about the general state of your health. A healthy tongue should typically have a pink tone, smooth edges, move easily through the mouth, and have a light coating, but not a white one. If your doctor ever asked you to stick your tongue out they were probably looking for clues about your overall well-being, but examining tongues was taken seriously a long time before modern medicine came along. In Traditional Asian Medicine, they go so far as to say that your tongue is like a "map" to your health.
"Geographic tongue" is a genuine medical condition, and though it is quite pretty it will doubtless scare people who encounter it — in part because the tongue is seen as such an important indication of health. Thankfully, geographic tongue is harmless. In most people, the whole upper surface of the tongue is covered by hair-like structures called papillae, most of which contain taste buds. People who have geographic tongue are simply missing some of these papilae, giving their tongue a map-like appearance.