About ringworm

What is ringworm?

Ringworm facts

  • Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the skin and is not due to a worm.
  • The medical term for ringworm is tinea. The condition is further named for the site of the body where the infection occurs.
  • Ringworm causes a scaly, crusted rash that may appear as round, red patches on the skin.Other symptoms and signs of ringworm include patches of hair loss or scaling on the scalp, itching, and blister-like lesions.
  • Ringworm can be successfully treated with antifungal medications used either topically or orally.



What are the symptoms for ringworm?

Talk to your doctor if you have a Rash that doesn't begin to improve within two weeks of using an over-the-counter antifungal product. You may need prescription medication.



What are the causes for ringworm?

Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection caused by common mold-like parasites that live on the cells in the outer layer of your skin. It can be spread in the following ways:

  • Human to human. Ringworm often spreads by direct, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
  • Animal to human. You can contract ringworm by touching an animal with ringworm. Ringworm can spread while petting or grooming dogs or cats. It's also fairly common in cows.
  • Object to human. It's possible for ringworm to spread by contact with objects or surfaces that an infected person or animal has recently touched or rubbed against, such as clothing, towels, bedding and linens, combs, and brushes.
  • Soil to human. In rare cases, ringworm can be spread to humans by contact with infected soil. Infection would most likely occur only from prolonged contact with highly infected soil.



What are the treatments for ringworm?

If over-the-counter treatments don't work, you may need prescription-strength antifungal medications — such as a lotion, cream or ointment that you apply to the affected skin. If your infection is particularly severe or extensive, your doctor might prescribe antifungal pills.



What are the risk factors for ringworm?

You're at higher risk of ringworm of the body if you:

  • Live in a warm climate
  • Have close contact with an infected person or animal
  • Share clothing, bedding or towels with someone who has a fungal infection
  • Participate in sports that feature skin-to-skin contact, such as wrestling
  • Wear tight or restrictive clothing
  • Have a weak immune system



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