• Not a worm, a skin infection caused by a fungus
  • Rash that is most often round (ring-shaped) or oval with a raised edge
  • Several different kinds of ringworm: beard and scalp, body, foot (athlete’s foot), nails or the groin (jock itch)  

Signs and Symptoms

  • Ringworm of the beard and scalp usually begins as small pimples that become larger, forming yellowish crusty areas.  These areas turn into scaly patches of temporary loss of hair.
  • Ringworm of the body/groin causes flat, round reddish patches.  As these round patchy areas grow larger, they make rings.
  • Ringworm of the foot, or “athlete’s foot”, looks like scales or cracks on the skin and/or watery blisters, especially between the toes.  It is sometimes itchy.
  • Ringworm of the nails causes the nails to slowly become thick, discoloured, brittle and can look chalky or whitish


  • Ringworm is usually spread by close, skin-to-skin touch with an infected person or pet or by touching objects that infected people/pets have touched.


  • Ringworm can be treated with fungus-killing medicine.
  • This medicine can be taken in tablet or liquid form by mouth or as a cream/ointment applied directly to the infection.


It is difficult to prevent the spread of ringworm but it helps to avoid the following:

  • Avoid close contact with others until infection has been treated.
  • Complete treatment as instructed by a doctor, even if symptoms have disappeared.
  • Do not share clothing/hats, towels, hairbrushes, or other personal items with others.
  • Make sure the person and/or animal that was the source of infection gets treated.

Children should be excluded from school until treatment has been started. While under treatment, children should be excluded from gyms, swimming pools, and activities likely to lead to exposure of others.