911 warning

Ringworm

Return to Index

one

Does this describe your child's symptoms?

Click image for more info

Ringworm Rash on Arm

Ringworm Rash on Leg

Definition

  • Fungal skin infection causing 1 or more ring-shaped spots

Symptoms

  • Round pink patch

  • Clearing of the center as the patch grows

  • Raised, rough, scaly border

  • Usually ½ to 1 inch (12 -25 mm) in size

  • Ring slowly increases in size

  • Mildly itchy

Cause

  • A fungus infection of the skin often transmitted from puppies or kittens who have it.

  • Less commonly transmitted human-to-human because if requires direct skin contact.  An exception is that an epidemic from ringworm can occur among wrestlers because of close body contact during matches.

  • Occasionally transmitted from fungus in the soil.

Return to School

  • Your child doesn't have to miss any child care or school for ringworm.

If not, see these topics

  • Doesn't look like ringworm, see RASH OR REDNESS - LOCALIZED AND CAUSE UNKNOWN

two

When to Call Your Doctor

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If

  • Pus is draining from the rash

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You think your child needs to be seen

  • Scalp is involved

  • More than 3 spots are present

  • Teen is a wrestler

  • Rash continues to spread after 1 week on treatment

  • Rash lasts longer than 4 weeks

  • You have other questions or concerns

home care

Parent Care at Home If

  • Mild ringworm and you don't think your child needs to be seen

three

HOME CARE ADVICE FOR RINGWORM

  1. Antifungal Cream:

    • Use Lamisil, Micatin or Lotrimin cream (no prescription needed) 2 times per day.

    • Apply it to the rash and 1 inch (2.5 cm) beyond its borders.

    • Continue the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is cleared.

  2. Contagiousness:

    • Your child doesn't have to miss any child care or school for ringworm.

    • Ringworm of the skin is mildly contagious. It requires direct skin-to-skin contact.

    • The type acquired from pets is not transmitted from human to human, only from animal to human.

    • After 48 hours of treatment, ringworm is not contagious at all.

    • Wrestlers, however, should avoid all wrestling until evaluated by your child's doctor.

  3. Expected Course: It clears completely in 3 to 4 weeks. For any recurrences, suspect the household puppy or kitten and take it to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

  4. Call Your Doctor If:

    • Rash continues to spread after 1 week on treatment

    • Rash is not cleared by 4 weeks

    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

Sign up for our e-newsletter!

Get tips to help you manage your family's health, options to boost your fitness and advice to live your best life.