Despite its name, ringworm (tinea) isn’t actually a worm. It’s a fungal infection caused by parasites called dermatophytes.

Ringworm is very contagious, so it’s important to seek treatment right away. As long as you have an active infection, you can give it to someone else. You can get ringworm by touching infected people or contaminated objects – like towels, pool or bath surfaces, utensils and combs.


Ringworm usually appears as red rings of tiny blisters or scaly skin. The patches have distinct edges and grow outward as the infection spreads. The infection can occur on your skin, scalp or nails. 

Treatment Options

There are over-the-counter ringworm treatments available. But severe cases of ringworm are treated with antifugal drugs, which help control the infection and prevent it from coming back. Depending on the severity and location of your ringworm, your dermatologist may prescribe an antifungal shampoo, powder, cream or lotion. You may also need to take an oral medication.

You can also ease your ringworm by keeping your skin clean and dry, washing bed sheets and pajamas every day and wearing loose clothing. 

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