Children's Hospital Colorado

Ringworm

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  • One or more ring-shaped spots caused by a fungus
  • Has a rough edge and clearing of the center

Symptoms of Ringworm

  • 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
  • Often only on one side of the face or body
  • Mildly itchy

Cause

  • An infection of the skin caused by a fungus. It is not caused by a worm.
  • Can often be spread to humans from puppies or kittens that have it. Pet rodents also can carry it.
  • Rarely, can be spread human-to-human. It needs direct skin contact to be passed this way. An exception is that ringworm can occur often among wrestlers. This is because of close body contact during matches.
  • Sometimes, caused by fungus in the soil.

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Pus is draining from the rash
  • Tick bite within the last month and new onset of "ringworm"

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • Scalp is involved
  • More than 3 spots are present
  • Child is a wrestler
  • Rash gets bigger or spreads after 1 week on treatment
  • Rash lasts more than 4 weeks
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mild ringworm

Care Advice for Ringworm

  1. What You Should Know About Ringworm:
    • Ringworm is a fungus infection of the skin.
    • Often it's caught from puppies or kittens that have it.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Anti-Fungal Cream:
    • Use an anti-fungal cream (such as Lotrimin) 2 times per day. No prescription is needed.
    • Put it on the rash and 1 inch (2.5 cm) beyond its borders.
    • Keep using the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is cleared.
  3. Return to School:
    • Your child doesn't have to miss any child care or school for ringworm.
    • Sometimes, ringworm of the skin can be passed on to others. It requires direct skin-to-skin contact.
    • Ringworm from pets is not passed from human to human. It is only passed from animal to human.
    • After 48 hours of treatment, ringworm does not spread to others at all.
    • Wrestlers: Can return to wrestling after 3 days of treatment. Continue treatment until gone.
  4. What to Expect:
    • It goes away in 3 to 4 weeks.
    • If it comes back, suspect the household puppy or kitten.
    • Take your animal to the vet for an exam and treatment.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Rash gets bigger or spreads after 1 week on treatment
    • Rash is not gone by 4 weeks
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

Care Advice for Ringworm

Ringworm Rash on Arm

This is a picture of ringworm. The area is round and pink. It has a raised, rough scaly border. The ring slowly grows in size. It is often slightly itchy.

This is caused by a fungus, not a worm. It can be passed from person to person. If you notice a rash like this, contact your doctor for treatment.

Ringworm Rash on Leg

This is a picture of ringworm. The area is round and pink. It has a raised, rough scaly border. The ring slowly grows in size. It is often slightly itchy.

This is caused by a fungus, not a worm. It can be passed from person to person. If you notice a rash like this, contact your doctor for treatment.

Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.


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