Ringworm

ring-worm-prevention Ringworm is not caused by a worm. It is caused by a fungus. The kinds of fungi (plural of fungus) that cause ringworm live and spread on the top layer of the skin and on the hair. They grow best in warm, moist areas, such as locker rooms and swimming pools, and in skin folds.

  Ringworm is contagious. It spreads when you have skin-to-skin contact with a person or animal that has it. It can also spread when you share things like towels, clothing, or sports gear.

  You can also get ringworm by touching an infected dog or cat, although this form of ringworm is not common.

  Ringworm of the skin usually causes a very itchy rash. It often makes a pattern in the shape of a ring, but not always. Sometimes it is just a red, itchy rash.

  To prevent ringworm:
  • Don't share clothing, sports gear, towels, or sheets. If you think you have been exposed to ringworm, wash your clothes in hot water with special anti-fungus soap.
  • Wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms and public bathing areas.
  • Shower and shampoo well after any sport that includes skin-to-skin contact.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Change your socks and underwear at least once a day.
  • Keep your skin clean and dry. Always dry yourself completely after showers or baths, drying your feet last.
  • If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your underwear so that fungi do not spread from your feet to your groin.
  • Take your pet to the vet if it has patches of missing hair, which could be a sign of a fungal infection.
If you or someone in your family has symptoms, it is important to treat ringworm right away to keep other family members from getting it.  
Sources:

Image: Copyright © Pulse Picture Library/CMP Images / Phototake -- All rights reserved.
Text: Understanding Ringworm - the Basics, WebMD Medical Reference
Reviewed on September 15, 2009

© 2009 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.