Frequently Asked Questions About Ringworm


Story at-a-glance

  • Wash every piece of clothing your children come into contact with separately to prevent the fungi from spreading to your clothes when you’re about to do the laundry
  • Eczema is a skin infection that causes red bumps, inflammation, itching and a burning sensation in the affected area, which is quite similar to the symptoms of ringworm

Q: Is ringworm caused by a worm?

A: Contrary to popular belief, ringworm is not caused by worms. The name originates back to the 1800s when there was little knowledge about the disease. Back then, doctors attributed the disease to worms.1

Q: Where does ringworm come from?

A: Ringworm is a skin infection caused dermatophytes, a group of fungi that causes skin infections around your body. Some dermatophytes live in humans, while others live on the ground and in animals. Below are the three genera of dermatophytes based on their asexual spores:2

Tricophyton (T.)

Microsporum (M.)

Epidermophyton (E.)

Meanwhile, here are the most common dermatophytes that can live on the human body:3

T. rubrum

T. megninii

T. interdigitale

T. soudanense

T. Tonsurans

T. yaoundei

T. violaceum

M. audouinii

T. schoenleinii

M. ferrugineum

Q: Can you get mild ringworm only?

A: Yes, most cases of ringworm are actually mild. If you’re able to treat your ringworm rashes immediately, you may be able to prevent them from spreading and becoming worse.4

Q. What remedies can you use if you have ringworm?

A: There are several home remedies you can use against ringworm. Popular options include garlic, turmeric and papaya. These are applied in various ways, but generally involve direct application to your rashes to promote healing.

Essential oils may help heal ringworm rashes as well. Lavender, calendula, tea tree and coconut oil contain antifungal properties that can help relieve the symptoms. Visit the Treatment page to learn how to use these various remedies.

Q. How do I deal with ringworm in children?

A: Ringworm can affect people of any age. It’s common especially among children, so take special care if your child likes to play outdoors. If your child happens to get ringworm, wash the child’s skin thoroughly, especially the areas between the toes and skin folds.

Wash every piece of clothing your child comes into contact with separately to prevent the fungi from spreading to your clothes when you’re about to do the laundry. And don’t forget to wash your hands carefully once you’re done cleaning up your child.5

Q. Can you use apple cider vinegar for ringworm?

A: Yes. Apple cider vinegar is one of the first home remedies people usually try should they get ringworm. It contains natural antifungal properties that can help eliminate your rashes and speed up healing. Simply pour some of it onto clean cotton balls and apply to the affected areas three to five times a day until the infection heals.6

Q. Are there other rashes that look like ringworm?

A: There are plenty of other skin infections out there that cause ringworm-like rashes. Known diseases include pityriasis rosea,7 impetigo, cellulitis and seborrhea. It’s important that you become familiar with common skin infections so that you can treat them properly when the time comes. Misdiagnosis might make your condition worse.8

Q. Eczema versus ringworm: What’s the difference between the two?

A: Eczema is a skin infection that causes red bumps, inflammation, itching and a burning sensation in the affected area,9 which is quite similar to the symptoms of ringworm. The main difference between the two is that the underlying cause of eczema is unknown. However, allergens, microbes and certain irritants are known to trigger it. Ringworm on the other hand, is strictly caused by fungi.

Q. How does ringworm start?

A: Once the fungi grow on your skin, ringworm usually starts out as a small, red patch. As the infection spreads, it takes on a red-brown appearance, and blisters can form.10

Q. How is ringworm transmitted?

A: Ringworm can be transmitted through various ways. The most common method is direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Contact with items that have been used by a person with ringworm, such as clothes, towels and chairs, can also transfer fungi to your skin.

If you work in a farm or any livestock facility, you can get ringworm from infected animals, such as cows and horses. Dermatophytes exist in the soil as well, and if you’re not wearing protective equipment, soil fungi can transfer to your skin and cause ringworm.11


Ringworm: Introduction

What Is Ringworm?

Ringworm Causes

Ringworm Types

Ringworm Stages

Ringworm Symptoms

Ringworm Treatment

Ringworm in Children

Ringworm vs Eczema

Ringworm Prevention

Ringworm FAQ

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