What is ringworm?
Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus. The infection causes a rash that may have a ringshape with a raised edge. It is usually quite itchy and flaky.
- When the scalp is infected, there is often an area of baldness.
- Fungal infections of the feet are usually very itchy and cause cracking between the toes.
Other names for ringworm include:
- Athlete’s foot (ringworm of the feet)
- Jock itch (ringworm of the groin)
How is it spread?
- You can get ringworm from people, animals, objects or places.
- Ringworm spreads from person to person by touch.
- When someone with ringworm touches or scratches the rash, the fungus sticks to the fingers or gets under the fingernails.
- The fungus is then spread when that person touches someone else.
- Ringworm can also be spread by using items such as clothes, towels, or hairbrushes that were used by someone with a ringworm infection.
- Animals can carry some types of fungi on their fur or skin without showing signs of ringworm infection.
- Sick or carrier animals can transmit fungi to people by direct or indirect (hair or dander) contact.
- Places like gyms, shower stalls, and floors can transmit fungus if used by someone with ringworm.
- Other people can catch the fungus if exposed to these places.
What is the treatment?
Ringworm can be cured with medication. Some medications are taken by mouth; others are ointments or creams to be placed on the infected area.
You can avoid spreading ringworm to others by:
- Follow your doctor’s advice for proper treatment
- Keep your skin, hair and nails clean and dry
- Wash towels and clothing in hot soapy water to destroy the fungus
- Stay away from common areas such as community pools and gyms until your infection goes way
- Return to school or childcare facility after treatment has been initiated
How can I prevent ringworm?
- Do not share clothing, towels, hairbrushes or other personal items
- Keep common-use areas clean
- Use a floor and bath cleaner that contains a fungus-killing (called fungicidal) agent
- For example, a common household bleach or cresol (specific type of disinfectant)
- Use good handwashing techniques
Where can I get more information?
Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.
(702) 759-1039 or (702) 759-0889
Updated on: August 21, 2018