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How Do You Get Ringworm

Ringworm is a common fungal infection in humans. This HealthHearty article provides some information about the causes for this condition.
Sonia Nair
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Ringworm rash is not caused by worms, but it is a fungal infection of the skin. Apart from the skin, the nails and the scalp can also get infected with ringworm. On the skin, this infection manifests itself as round patches with a red border. It could be due to the ring-like patches, that the condition got its name; but, it is not necessary that all those who are infected, develop such patches.
Ringworm of the feet (athlete's foot) and groin (jock itch) are mainly characterized by scaly patches. The condition is seen as red blisters on the scalp; and in case of nails, it causes yellow discoloration and brittleness. Ringworm infection is contagious, and is commonly found in kids.
How do You Get Ringworm Rash
It is a contagious fungal skin infection that commonly affects the groin, scalp, nails, feet, and skin folds. Ringworm is caused by a fungus called tinea. This fungus can be found in the soil, and on the body of animals and humans. It spreads through direct skin to skin contact with infected people or animals, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. It has been observed that infected pet cats and dogs are among the main causes for ringworm infection in humans.
Sharing personal items like, towels, combs, hats, brushes, bed lines, etc., can also cause spread of this infection. However, some people do not get infected, even if they get exposed to the fungus; whereas some others develop symptoms soon after the exposure. The former category may act as carriers, who can spread the infection, without getting infected.
What Causes Ringworm on the Scalp
Spread of scalp ringworm infection is caused by direct skin contact, or through sharing of contaminated objects, like comb, hat, brush, towel, pillows, and bed linen. In case of such exposure, you may or may not get infected. However, those with minor cuts or injuries on the scalp, are more prone to develop this infection. Scalp ringworm is common in kids. Adults produce sebum after puberty, and this prevents the infection to a certain extent. Ringworm of the scalp is characterized by round or oval patches. These patches can be red and itchy. Apart from that, hair loss may also occur on those patches. Even the lymph nodes of the neck may get inflamed, in those with scalp ringworm infection.
In short, ringworm infection is mainly caused by skin contact with infected people, pets, and contaminated surfaces. This applies to almost all types of ringworm, that affects the groin, feet, nail, scalp, and face. The condition is characterized by red, itchy patches that can be scaly and crusty. Antifungal medication is the most common treatment for this condition. According to the severity of the infection, these medicines are prescribed for topical application or for oral intake, or a combination of both. Inadequate treatment may result in recurrent infection. So, you must prevent ringworm infection by maintaining good hygiene. Avoid skin contact with infected people and pets, and sharing of personal belongings. Ensure proper treatment for the infected members in your family.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.