Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that can affect the nails, feet, scalp, body, and in particular, the groin.

The fungus that causes ringworm can be found in humans, animals and soil, depending on the type of ringworm. A characteristic symptom of ringworm is a red ring rash on the patient's skin.


Ringworm Symptoms

Ringworm on the scalp begins with a pimple that becomes abnormally large and leaves scaly patches that cause temporary baldness. Hair infected with ringworm becomes brittle and breaks off easily, and crusty, yellow areas may develop. Ringworm of the body shows up anywhere on the body except for the scalp and feet as a round, flat patch. The most common form of ringworm, which is ringworm of the groin, appears as a rash that expands and then the center will clear, forming a ring. There may also be many rings that overlap and become itchy.

Ringworm of the foot, most commonly known as athlete's foot, appears as scaly or cracking skin between the toes. Ringworm of the nails causes the nails to become discolored, brittle, thick and chalky, and sometimes it can even make the nail disintegrate.

Symptoms of scalp ringworm appear after 10 to 14 days of initial contact. Ringworm of the skin takes about 4 to 10 days to appear. All other forms of ringworm do not have a known time for symptoms to appear after initial contact.

Ringworm Treatment and Cure

A physician can diagnose ringworm by examining the site of infection with special tests formulated to pinpoint which kind of fungi is responsible. Ringworm is treated with fungi-killing medicine in the forms of pills, liquids or creams. Prevention of ringworm is difficult, because the fungus is common and contagious even before symptoms appear.

Is Ringworm Contagious?

Yes, ringworm is contagious. Is it spread by direct or indirect contact with someone or something that has it, e.g., skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or pet, or contact with a surface or an object that an infected person or pet has touched. In rare cases, it can be contracted from soil.

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