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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Rashes Rashes Arrow to Ringworm Ringworm

Ringworm rash
Circular rash caused by
ringworm, a fungal infection.

Ringworm, 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 thrive.

Ringworm treatment

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.

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