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Ringworm: Causes, Symptoms, Risk, Prevention & Treatment

Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the skin. It is characterized by a red itchy rash that is circular in shape. It is also called dermatophytosis or tinea. This type of skin infection is contagious. It can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. The infection may affect the feet, scalp beard and the groin.

What are the causes of ringworm?

Ringworm is caused by a dermatophyte fungus. This fungus lives on the dead cells of your scalp, skin and nails. It  is commonly spread among children.

It can spread in the many ways:

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
  • Touching animals that are infected with fungus.
  • Contact with objects that an infected animal or person has touched.
  • Contact with infected soil.

There are three types of fungi that can cause infection.

  • Jock itch (tinea cruris) – Infection around the groin, buttocks and inner thighs.  It is most common in adolescent boys and men.
  • Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) -It appears as patches with “ring” shape. It affects different parts of the body.
  • Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) – It is common among school children. It appears as scaling bald spot on the scalp.

What are the symptoms of ringworm?

Ringworm symptoms include:


  • Raised patches
  • Red and itchy
  • Circular ring
  • Irregular edge
  • Scaly
  • Clear or scaly center


  • Thick nail
  • Discolored nail
  • Cracked nail


  • Bald patches
  • Hair fall

Who is at risk for ringworm?

Anyone is at risk of developing ringworm. However, ringworm infection is common among children and people who owns pet. You may be infected with ringworm of the body if you:

  • Share personal belongings with an infected person
  • Wear tight clothing
  • Direct contact with an infected person
  • Live in a tropical climate.

How Is Ringworm Treated?

Ringworm can be treated using antifungal cream such as Clotrimazole (Canesten). Canesten prevents the growth of fungus. It can treat skin infections such as ringworm, jock itch and athlete’s foot.


Ringworm of the nails and scalp may require oral antifungal medicines like ketoconazole (Lotrimin) and terbinafine tabs (Lamisil).

Prevention tips

It’s difficult to prevent ringworm but there are ways to reduce your risk:

  • Do not share your personal belongings like towels, hair brush and clothing.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching your pets.
  • Disinfect pet areas.
  • Keep your skin clean.
  • Wear loose clothing.

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