Ringworm: Types, Symptoms & Treatment Options

These days there are so many skin rashes, infections, or problems, that it sometimes feels like that almost everyone suffers from a sort of skin disorder. One of the most common skin infections in our country is called ringworm or Tinea Corporis. Approximately 20% to 25% percent of the world population is affected by this highly contagious skin infection. This makes it important for everyone to know exactly what it is, how to recognize it, and whether there are ways to get rid of it.

ringworm on the throat

What Is Ringworm?

Ringworm is a skin infection, but contrary to its name, it is not caused by a worm, but by a fungus. It gets its name from the form it gets on the skin. It’s a red, ring-shaped skin plaque type of scaly rash. Ringworm is highly contagious and spreads via (close) contact. This can be another infected person, animal, or item. For example, using unwashed clothes of an infected person or a public locker room.

Types of Fungal Infections

Ringworm can appear on every body part, but when it’s not on your arms, legs, torso, or face it’s considered a different type of ringworm or fungus infection and is called differently. These other types of ringworm include:

  • Tinea pedis, also called athlete’s foot. A fungal infection between the toes and on the soles of the feet.
  • Tinea cruris, also called jock itch. A fungal infection in the groin, upper thighs, and/or rectum
  • Tinea capitis, also called scalp ringworm. A fungal infection on the scalp
  • Tinea mannuum, ringworm on your hands
  • Tinea barbea, ringworm on your neck, chin, and/or cheeks
  • Onychomycosis, also called (toe)nail fungus. A fungal infection under/in the nails

Usually, this type of fungus lives in your skin, nails, and hair. When the fungus environment gets just the way he likes it, it starts to grow uncontrollably and the infection/ringworm appears, and (if possible) spreads to other parts of the body of other people and/or animals. Perfect conditions for ringworm include warm and humid climates. Other factors that increase the chance of getting ringworm are having a weakened immune system or an autoimmune disease, like lupus, playing high-contact sports, sweating excessively, using public locker rooms and/or showers, and working with animals that might have ringworm.

zoomed-in photo of ringworm and person wanting to use ointment

Symptoms of Ringworm

On the previous page, we have already explained what a typical ringworm – on the arm, leg or torso, or face – looks like. Should your rash look like this, you can guess what you are suffering from, but it has several other symptoms and not all types of fungal infections look the same. Symptoms often appear between 4 and 14 days after getting infected with the fungus that causes ringworm. Symptoms of a fungal infection include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Red skin
  • Scaly and/or cracked skin
  • Flat patches with a raised and round border
  • Hair loss or bald spots on the affected area
  • Pain on the affected area – especially with scalp ringworm
  • Ring-shaped rash

Treatment Options for Ringworm

In case you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, make sure you – or that loved one – visit a professional healthcare provider to receive the right diagnosis, before treating it. The healthcare provider will take a closer look at your rash & ask some necessary questions, and eventually, make his diagnosis. When in doubt the provider will test the rash by doing a small skin scraping and examining this. Once the right diagnosis is made, the following treatment options are possible to stop the fungus from spreading:

  • Non-prescription antifungal medication, like creams, lotions, or powders
  • Prescribed antifungal medication

There are so many types of skin disorders, in case you want more information… Check it out here. It’s important to seek medical treatment when you suffer – or think you suffer – from a skin disorder, problem, or infection. Your healthcare provider will look at you, examine your symptoms, make the right diagnosis, and start an effective treatment plan. That’s why it’s good to do your online research first. We are here to help you, so start your search here: