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Causes Of Ringworm Infection

Updated on August 31, 2013

Foot Ringworm


Understanding the Causes of Ringworm

The actual causes of ringworm or tinea ringworm as it is sometimes called are often misunderstood.

Many people who get any form of ringworm infection immediately think they have done something wrong, especially in terms of their hygiene, or more specifically their lack of hygiene.

This is honestly a myth and has no basis in any medical fact. A lot of ringworm information that is available is not only misleading but also inaccurate in many ways.

In this article I will explain the main causes of ringworm and the best ways to make sure you can avoid it as much as possible.

The Different Causes Of Ringworm

Direct Contact

Any type of direct contact, such as kissing, skin contact or even a simple handshake with an infected person will almost guarantee that you will become infected.

Direct physical contact with a ringworm infected person, or an animal such as a horse, or more significantly a household pet is the number one carrier of the ringworm infection.

You could for example visit a neighbour's house, stroke their cat or dog and if they are infected, then you will also get the disease. It is that simple and that quick, though you will probably not show any symptoms of ringworm for around four days.

For me that is the most annoying part but the reality is that you really can do nothing to prevent it, other than avoid any type of contact with an infected person, animal or place. The big problem is however that you will never know who or what is a carrier of ringworm unless they know themselves and tell you.

Surface Contact

Another cause of ringworm is that if you touched a surface, an object or anything that an infected person had touched, then by this indirect method you would also develop ringworm tinea symptoms.

Hopefully this demonstrates the main causes of ringworm and in essence, they are in the main out of your control. Sadly we can not walk about wearing gloves all the time to prevent this from happening.


There are several ringworm tinea causes and I will discuss these below as it is important to properly understand these, and know why ringworm can actually happen to anyone.

Ringworm tinea causes vary quite a bit, and this demonstrates how, through no fault of your own, you may come into contact with this highly contagious disease.

It also makes it very difficult to prevent as although the causes of ringworm are well known and simple to understand, it matters little as unless you know that ringworm exists in the first place, then it is almost impossible to avoid.

You could for example take your child horse-riding and the horse could be a carrier. If that was the case then it is almost inevitable that you and your daughter will become infected.

Public places such as swimming pools or any area where large groups of people meet are therefore more likely to be areas where ringworm can be easily and quickly spread. High risk groups include school children with home pets and sport's people, especially those who play team sports.

Quick Action Means Prevention

If you have contacted ringworm tinea then you can of course prevent the spread to others by avoiding any direct contact, and you should never share clothing, bed linen or any other type of surface contact. Clearly that is a very restrictive thing to do and it can take at least 2-4 weeks to have it completely cured. However, there is really no alternative to this practise.

Ringworm tinea is a highly contagious illness and will spread like wildfire if it is not carefully and strictly controlled. So in summary, the causes of ringworm are either by direct or indirect surface contact with an infected person or animal.

Understanding Causes Of Ringworm

Summary of The Causes of Ringworm

As we have now seen ringworm is a contagious disease that is almost impossible to prevent. If you know or suspect that someone has ringworm then you should avoid contact with them until the illness has fully cleared.

That may sound harsh but there is no other known way of preventing it happening. From time to time there will be large outbreaks of ringworm in an area. This happened recently in a public swimming pool area near Boston.

One school child who got the ringworm from a dog went swimming and anyone in the pool that day got infected. In turn they passed this on to others without even knowing and suddenly there were many people infected.


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