There is no worm in ringworm
Did you know that ringworm is not a worm at all. Ringworm is a fungal infection in the skin or scalp that is common among children, but adults are affected, too. It is usually in the shape of a ring and has the appearance of a worm on the raised outer border. Anyone can get it.
Ringworm is usually a ring-shaped, reddish rash that can be itchy. The area may appear dry and scaly or moist and crusty. There are different forms of ringworm. Some common ones include:
- Ringworm of the feet, commonly known as athlete’s foot
- Ringworm of the body
- Ringworm of the scalp
- Ringworm of the groin, or jock itch, which is common among athletes
Because ringworm is contagious, there are several ways to get it. The most common one is skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the infection.
Spread by contact
It can also be spread by contact with contaminated items such as a towel, comb or pool, as well as clothing and shower surfaces.
Animals can also transmit a form of ringworm to humans, most commonly spread by kittens and puppies, but cows, sheep, pigs and horses can transmit it as well. Symptoms typically appear four to 14 days following exposure.
Ringworm can usually be treated with a topical antifungal medication that can be purchased over the counter. Common ones contain clotrimazole, miconazole, ketoconazole or tolnaftate. Apply the medication one inch beyond the border of the ringworm and continue the medication for seven days after it has cleared. It usually takes about two to four weeks to clear. After 48 hours of antifungal medication, ringworm is not contagious. If the condition persists, visit your doctor.