This is a skin infection caused by a fungus. The specific name of the condition is determined by the body part affected.

This is a skin infection caused by a fungus. The specific name of the condition is determined by the body part affected.

Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus. These infections are often lumped together under a grouping called "tinea." The specific name is determined by the body part affected. More than one area of the body can be affected at the same time.

  • Tinea barbae is ringworm of the beard. It is also called "barber's itch."
  • Tinea corporis is ringworm of the exposed areas of the body.
  • Tinea pedis is ringworm of the feet. It is also called "athlete's foot."
  • Tinea cruris is ringworm of the groin. It is also called "jock itch."
  • Tinea capitis is ringworm of the scalp.

Ringworm usually occurs in warm, moist places on the body. Although children are more prone to ringworm, it can affect anyone. The risk of catching ringworm increases if you:

  • Sweat a lot
  • Are wet for long periods
  • Have an injury to your skin, scalp, or nails

Ringworm is contagious. You can catch it by direct contact or by touching a contaminated surface (i.e., a shoe, sock, shower floor, pool, comb or unwashed clothing). You can also catch ringworm from your pet. If they have the fungus on their fur or skin it usually results in the cat or dog having bald spots. Preventive measures include:

  • Keeping your skin and feet dry
  • Shampooing regularly
  • Not sharing personal care items or clothing
  • Wearing sandals in public pools or showers
  • Not touching pets that have bald spots until they are treated by their vet

The primary symptoms of ringworm may include:

  • Red, itchy, raised patches of skin that have well-defined edges and a light center
  • Blisters that can drain and then crust over
  • Thick and discolored toenails
  • Bald patches of the scalp

Before you see a healthcare provider for your ringworm, there are some things you can try at home. These include:

  • Keeping your skin dry and clean
  • Using over-the-counter antifungal creams or powders
  • Wearing loose clothing that does not rub on the affected area
  • Frequently washing clothes and other items that come into contact with your skin

You should see a healthcare provider for evaluation and further treatment if your ringworm:

  • Is in your scalp or beard
  • Persists for more than 4 weeks
  • Keeps getting worse or keeps coming back

While ringworm can go away with self-care, there may be times you need to see a healthcare provider for further treatment. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms, how long you've had them, if you have had them before and if they are progressing or changing.

  • Before your appointment, make a list of the patient's medical history, including past illnesses, surgeries and hospitalizations. List all medications (including over-the-counter) and any questions or concerns you want to discuss.
  • During your appointment, ask about your overall health, what symptoms you might have and when you may start to see improvement. Ask what the follow-up plans are, if any, and what symptoms you should report before your next appointment.
  • After your appointment, you should know the diagnosis. Make sure you understand your treatment plan, including possible alternatives, and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects).
  • If your healthcare provider wants you to take a medication, ask if an over-the-counter product is right for you.
  • If your healthcare provider prescribes a medication for you, ask for a generic version. If your doctor thinks that a generic version is not right for you, ask for a medication on the lowest available tier of your Prescription Drug List (PDL).

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Fungal Infection

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