Ringworm : How to check if you have Ringworm ?


A rash brought on by a fungus is known as ringworm of the body (tinea corporis). The rash is often round and irritating, with clearer skin in the center. Ringworm is so named because of the way it appears. There are no worms involved.

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris), and scalp ringworm are all connected to ringworm of the body (tinea capitis). Ringworms are often spread by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal.

Using topical antifungal medicines on the skin frequently relieves mild ringworm. You might need antifungal medications for a few weeks if the illness is more serious.

A ring-shaped skin illness brought on by a fungus is known as ringworm. Although eczema and psoriasis can occasionally mimic ringworm, there are important distinctions between the two in terms of appearance and management.

Dermatophytosis, dermatophyte infection, and tinea are other names for ringworm, a fungal skin illness.

The term "ringworm" is inaccurate since a fungus, not a worm, causes the infection. Its name comes from the way the infection's resulting lesion resembles a worm in the form of a ring.

The term "ringworm" is often only used to refer to tinea corporis (ringworm of the body) or tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp). It is occasionally used to describe tinea infections in different places, such as tinea cruris (ringworm of the groin).

Both can be impacted by ringworm. Initial symptoms of the illness include discolored, often scaly patches on the afflicted regions. These spots frequently appear red on lighter skin or brown-gray on darker skin.

Ringworm can spread from an infected location to other bodily areas, including the:

  • Scalp
  • Feet
  • Hands
  • Nails
  • Groin
  • Beard


Ringworm is an infectious fungus caused by common parasites that look like mold and reside on the skin's surface cells. It has the potential to spread in the following ways:

Human to human. Ringworm is commonly transferred by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual.

Human to an animal. By coming into contact with an infected animal, you can get ringworm. Ringworms may spread through petting or grooming pets like dogs or cats. That occurs often in cows as well.

Humans to an object. Ringworm can spread by contact with items or surfaces an infected person or animal recently touched or rubbed against, such as clothing, towels, beds, linens, combs, and brushes.

Human to the soil. Ringworms can occasionally transfer from animals to people through contact with contaminated soil. It is quite unlikely that somebody would become sick unless they had frequent contact with seriously contaminated soil.

A certain fungus is to blame for ringworm.

Close contact with the following people can spread it:

  • An infected person or animal infected soil.
  •  Infected bed sheets, combs, or towels

How to check if you have Ringworm?

If your rash does not start to get better after two weeks of taking an over-the-counter antifungal treatment, consult your doctor. You could require prescription medicine.

A frequent fungus infection is a ringworm. Worms are not to blame. To treat it, you may often purchase medication from a drugstore.

A rash is the primary sign of ringworm. Depending on your skin tone, it may seem red, silver, or darker than the surrounding skin.

The rash might be itchy, dry, puffy, or scaly.

Anything on the body, including the scalp (tinea capitis) and groin, can have ringworm (jock itch).

Risk Factors

You are at greater risk of contracting Ringworm if you:

  • Reside in a warm environment
  • Having frequent touch with a sick person or animal
  • Share your clothes, blankets, or towels with someone with a fungal illness.
  • Play contact sports like wrestling that involve skin-to-skin contact.
  • Do not wear constrictive or tight apparel
  • Having a weakened immune system


Symptoms and signs of ringworm may include:

  • A ring-shaped patch of scales that commonly appears on the buttocks, torso, arms, and legs
  • Itchiness
  • Within the ring, there may be a clear or scaly region with a few bumps that range in color from red on white skin to reddish, purple, brown, or gray on black and brown skin.
  • Expanding, slightly elevated rings
  • A flat, rounded region of irritation
  • Rings that overlap


Ringworm is hard to avoid. It is frequently caused by a fungus, and it can spread even before symptoms show. Follow these precautions to lower your chance of contracting ringworm:

Educate yourself and others. Be wary of the possibility of ringworm from infected persons or animals. Inform your kids about ringworm, including symptoms to look out for and ways to prevent infection.

Maintain cleanliness. Often wash your hands. Particularly at gyms, locker rooms, schools, and childcare facilities, keep communal spaces tidy. If you play a contact sport, wash your uniform and equipment straight away after practice or a game.

Keep cool and dry. In hot, humid conditions, avoid wearing heavy apparel for extended periods. Avoid perspiring excessively.

Stay away from sick animals. The illness is frequently like a patch of skin without fur. Ask your veterinarian to examine any pets or other animals you own for ringworm.

Do not exchange private goods. Do not allow people to use your items, including your clothes, towels, hairbrushes, and sporting equipment. 


If over-the-counter remedies do not work, you could require prescription-strength antifungal drugs, such as a lotion, cream, or ointment that you apply to the afflicted area. Your doctor may recommend antifungal medications if your infection is especially bad or widespread.

Try these self-care suggestions if you have a minor case of ringworm.

  • Keep the afflicted area dry and clean.
  • Use an over-the-counter antifungal lotion, cream, or ointment such as clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) or terbinafine (Lamisil AT) as advised on the label.

Complications of Ringworm

Rarely does a fungal infection penetrate the skin to cause significant sickness. Nevertheless, those with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, may have trouble overcoming the illness.


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Page last reviewed: Apr 7, 2023

Next review due: Apr 7, 2025

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