Children ages 3 to 9 years old tend to get ringworm, especially scalp ringworm, more than adults.1 Generally, they get ringworm by playing in areas with fungi-infected soil or playing with animals that came into contact with fungi. They may also get ringworm at a day care center.2
Children in Urban Areas Are More Susceptible to Ringworm
In a 2010 study conducted in the Kansas City metropolitan area, evidence shows that children from kindergarten up until the fifth grade are more likely to get ringworm than other school levels.
From the participating schools, almost 7 percent of the children were infected with ringworm scalp (tinea capitis) caused by the Trichophyton tonsurans (T. tonsurans) strain. This particular strain is one of the leading causes of ringworm in the U.S., especially in metropolitan areas. The study concluded that:3
• Overall, the infection rates of the participating schools ranged from zero percent (no cases at all) to 19.4 percent from a total population sample size of 10,514 children.
• Of all ethnicities that had ringworm, African-American children were affected the most with 12.9 percent, compared to 1.6 percent in Hispanic children and 1.1 percent in white children.
The study notes that the reasons for the prevalence of ringworm among African-American children weren't clear — most likely, the children weren't interviewed, or the participating schools just happened to have more African-American students than Hispanic or Caucasian children.
Whatever the case, it's probable that factors such as the community they live in, their outdoor playtime activities or the route they take going to school all play a part in how the children contracted the fungi — factors you need to be aware of as well.
Ringworm Symptoms in Children
The symptoms that children get are practically the same as that of adults; however, there's one exception. According to Dr. Donna D'Alessandro and Lindsay Huth, curators of the online Virtual Pediatric Hospital, one unique symptom of ringworm common in teenagers and young adults is that the skin may become lighter or darker on the sides of the face, neck, back and chest.4
If your child's rashes come with a fever, it is highly recommended you contact your doctor right away, as it could be a sign of a more serious condition.5 If your child has a weakened immune system due to a preexisting condition, let your doctors know as well, so they can guide you through an effective treatment plan without harming your child's health further.
Treatment and Prevention of Ringworm in Children
If a doctor confirms that your child has ringworm, you can follow the treatments mentioned in this guide without any problem. Natural home remedies such as apple cider vinegar, papaya or tea tree oil should prove effective in treating your child’s ringworm.
It's also important to educate children on how they can protect themselves from catching ringworm, especially if they love spending time outdoors with their friends. Make sure that they:6
• Avoid sharing clothes such as shirts and jackets
• Avoid sharing accessories such as combs and hats
• Wear clean clothes every day
• Wear sandals or slippers while walking around public pools and showers
• Refrain from touching a pet that has ringworm. Have your pet treated for the fungi right away too.