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  • Ringworm


    • Skin infection with 1 or more ring-shaped spots
    • Has a rough edge and clearing of the center
    • Caused by a fungus


    • 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


    • A fungus infection of the skin
    • Can often be spread to humans from puppies or kittens who have it
    • Rarely, can be spread human-to-human. It requires direct skin contact to be passed this way. An exception is that an epidemic from ringworm can occur among wrestlers. This is because of close body contact during matches.
    • Sometimes, caused by fungus in the soil.

    Return to School

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

    When to Call Us for Ringworm

    Call Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If:

    • Pus is draining from the rash

    Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If:

    • You have other questions or concerns
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • 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

    Parent Care at Home If:

    • Mild ringworm

    Care Advice for Ringworm

    What You Should Know:

    • 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.

    Antifungal Cream:

    • Use Lamisil, Micatin or Lotrimin cream 2 times per day. No prescription is needed.
    • Put it on the rash and 1 inch (2.5 cm) beyond its borders.
    • Continue the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is cleared.

    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, however, should not wrestle until checked by your child’s doctor.

    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 diagnosis and treatment.

    Call Your Doctor If:

    • Rash gets bigger or spreads after 1 week on treatment
    • Rash is not gone by 4 weeks
    • Your child becomes worse

    Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

    Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
    Copyright 1994-2013 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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