Ringworm (Tinea Corporis) Treatment

Learn About Ringworm Signs & Remedies

Ringworm is a red rash caused by a fungal infection of the skin. The genesis of the name “ringworm” has no relation to worms but comes from the circular or ring-shape of the rashes. The fungi that cause ringworm are part of the dermatophytes group and live off keratin, a body tissue found in human nails, hair, and skin. After the body becomes infected by the fungus, the rash and other symptoms of ringworm are dormant between four and ten days. Once present, the outbreaks can spread on the body as well as through contact with new hosts.

As a highly contagious infection, the risks of ringworm spreading are high. Over the course of the ringworm infection in one person, the rashes will spread to more tissue on the body. As the rashes multiply and merge, symptoms can be more severe, and blisters and sores filled with pus may develop around the outbreaks.

There are three primary ways for ringworm to spread between humans.

  • Person-to-person contact with bare skin can transmit ringworm from one infected person to one or more healthy hosts.
  • Dogs, cats, and certain types of pets that are infected can pass along ringworm to humans.
  • Some inanimate objects that an infected person has touched can pass on ringworm to new carriers.

To diagnose ringworm, a physician examines the skin to rule out conditions with similar symptoms as ringworm, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. If a diagnosis cannot be made based on an examination alone, the doctor may take skin scrapings of the afflicted area to inspect under a microscope.

Ringworm treatments include over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription topical and oral fungicide medications.

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