Circular rash caused by
ringworm, a fungal infection.
which is also occasionally called serpigo or tinea corporis,
is a common skin infection that is not, despite what the name
suggests, caused by a worm.
Rather, it is caused by a parasitic fungus which creates a
patch of skin that may seem raised or bumpy, is red or brownish
in color, and is itchy. The skin may only seem infected on
the outside edge of the infection with seemingly normal skin
in the center, which is where the notion of a ring comes from.
It is also quite common for ringworm to appear on the feet
or in the groin area, in which case it is referred to as either
athlete's foot or jock itch.
Preventing ringworm contagion
Ringworm, like most fungal infections, thrives in moist, warm
areas and is relatively easy to prevent with a few simple
precautions. Because ringworm is contagious, it is not wise
to share clothing, towels, or any other material that the
fungus may be transferred to.
Similarly, any clothing, bedding, or material that comes in
contact with the skin that could potentially be carrying the
infection should be washed thoroughly, preferably with antifungal
soap. Pets, particularly cats, can potentially be carriers
of the fungus and should be washed with antifungal soap as
well. More generally, skin should be kept cool and dry, which
will take away the conditions necessary for the fungus to
Treatment of ringworm is relatively simple and can usually
be accomplished without seeing a doctor. Antifungal creams,
lotions, and drying powders should all be available over the
counter, and if applied properly to the infected area, should
clear the infection up. It is also important to keep the skin
cool and dry to prevent further infection, and any material
that comes in daily contact with the infected skin, such as
bedding, should be washed daily with an antifungal soap to
avoid further infection.
If the above treatment is unsuccessful, a doctor should be
consulted for more powerful antifungal medications.
More about ringworm around the Web:
WebMD - Ringworm Picture Slideshow - Keep clicking for an illustrated tour explaining what ringworm is and common causes, where it typically appears on the body, and treatment options.
eMedicineHealth - Ringworm - Run down the extensive checklist of facts and information on cauaes, symptoms, preventation and treatment, with related photos.
This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice. All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.