What Ringworm Does on HumanBody

  • Ringworm is a common fungal skin infection and is not due to a worm.
  • The medical term for ringworm is tinea. The skin disease is further named for the site of the body where the infection occurs.
  • Some types of ringworm infection include tinea corporistinea capitistinea pedis (“athlete’s foot“), and tinea cruris (“jock itch“).
  • Ringworm causes a scaly, crusted rash that may appear as round, ring-like red patches on the skin. Other symptoms and signs of ringworm include patches of hair loss or scaling on the scalpitching, and blister-like lesions.
  • Ringworm is contagious and can be passed through direct contact from person to person.
  • Ringworm can be successfully treated with antifungal medications used either topically or orally.

Is ringworm contagious?

Ringworm occurs in people of all ages, but it is particularly common in children. It occurs most often in warm, moist climates. Ringworm is a contagious disease and can be passed through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing combs and brushes, other personal care items, or clothing. It is also possible to become infected with ringworm after coming in contact with the locker room or pool surfaces. The skin infection can also affect dogs and cats, and pets may transmit the infection to humans. It is common to have several areas of ringworm at once in different body areas.

What does the term ringworm mean?

The term ringworm or ringworms refers to fungal infections that are on the surface of the skin. The name is derived from the early belief that the infection was due to a worm, which it is not. Ringworm is a fungal infection in the skin. Nevertheless, the name ringworm remains. Some of these fungi produce a rash of round scaly spots on the skin, but many do not. On the other hand, many round, red spots or rashes on the skin are not due to a fungal infection. A physical examination of the affected skin, evaluation of skin scrapings under the microscope, and culture tests can help health care professionals make the appropriate diagnosis and distinctions from other conditions. A proper diagnosis is best for successful treatment.

The medical term for ringworm is tinea. (Tinea is the Latin name for a growing worm.) Health care professionals add another word to indicate the part of the body where the fungus is located. Tinea capitis, for instance, refers to scalp ringworm, tinea corporis to fungus of the body, tinea pedis to fungus of the feet, and so on. Read More

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