Ring worm (medical term : tinea corporis) is a common skin condition that manifests as a circular, red rash. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a worm, but in fact a fungal infection that is easily treated. The rash can appear anywhere on the body, but the feet, groin and scalp are the most common sites. Ringworm is highly contagious.

Ringworm spreads between people through direct skin contact and by sharing objects of personal use. Pets may also have ringworm and can pass it on. Children and especially susceptible to catching ringworm.

Scalp ringworm is the most common, and will require treatment with oral (through mouth) tablets. All other forms of ringworm only need skin creams for treatment.


Ringworm typically begins as a flat scaly area on the skin, which may be red and itchy. This patch develops a slightly raised border that expands outward — forming a roughly circular ring. The contours of the ring may be quite irregular, resembling the wavy outline of a snake or a worm.

 The interior of the ring may be clear, scaly or marked with a scattering of red bumps. In some people, several rings develop at the same time and may overlap.


You’re at higher risk of ringworm of the body if you:

  • Live in a warm climate
  • Have close contact with an infected person or animal
  • Share clothing, bedding or towels with someone who has a fungal infection
  • Participate in sports that feature skin-to-skin contact, such as wrestling
  • Wear tight or restrictive clothing
  • Have a weakened immune system


It is crucial to stop the spreading of tinea once diagnosed. This includes avoiding sharing items of personal use such as towels, bedding and clothes. If your pet has tinea, have them treated. Good personal hygiene also helps in avoiding the infection.

Most cases of ringworm are mild and can be treated using a pharmacy antifungal cream.

Scalp ringworm can be treated with antifungal tablets, sometimes combined with antifungal shampoo.


Dr. Annie

Physician, mom and wife

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