What is ringworm?
Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus that lives on the dead tissues of your skin, hair or nails. Ringworm does not mean the infection is caused by worms.
What are the symptoms of ringworm?
When found on the skin, the infection causes a rash that may have a ring-shape with a raised edge. The rash is usually quite itchy and flaky, but can also be wet and crusty.
When the scalp is infected, it usually starts as a small sore that looks like a bump or pimple before developing into a flaky patch. Some people experience hair loss around the patch.
Fungal infections of the feet are usually very itchy and cause cracking between the toes. The fungal rash can affect all areas of the foot, but it is usually patchy.
You should see a health care provider if the illness seems to be causing more serious symptoms.
How is ringworm spread?
Ringworm spreads from person-to-person by touch. When someone with ringworm touches or scratches the rash, the fungus sticks to their fingers or gets under their fingernails. They can then spread the fungus by touching someone else.
Ringworm of the scalp can also spread if combs and hairbrushes are shared. Ringworm can also be spread to humans from animals, such as dogs and cats.
How is ringworm treated?
Ringworm can be cured with antifungal medication, which kills the fungus and helps prevent it from coming back. Some medications are taken by mouth (tablets or capsules) and others are applied on the infected area (ointments or creams). Your health care provider will decide the best treatment of you.
How is ringworm prevented?
Simple preventative measures can reduce the spread of infection.