ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ringworm: Symptoms and Treatment

Updated on November 3, 2008

You probably already know that ringworm isn't actually a worm. Which means you probably also already know it's a fungus. And, even if you didn't already know this, the title probably gave you a clue. So why's it called ringworm? The terminology has existed for centuries, and it gets it name from the rings formed as the lesions heal. You start out with a solid red circle and end up with a red ring surrounding a clear or white patch of skin.

So don't worry, you don't have anything crawling around under your skin. What you have, is a fungus that's mooching off of you. It's surviving by chowing down on the keratin in your skin. And it's a rather obnoxious houseguest, lurking around in dark places and spreading itself far and wide. It loves dark, moist areas, as these contribute to it's comfort. So much so, he' s not often willing to leave when you open the door and try to kick him out. He'd rather mooch for the rest of whatever. Sounds like a few men I've had in my life, to be honest!

What kind of fungus are we talking about here?

This particular form of ringworm is transmitted by 3 types of fungus: Trichophyton rubrum (the most common), Microsporum canis (via Fido), Trichophyton mentagrophytes (zoophilic).

Where do you pick these dermatophytes up?

By sharing towels, bedding or clothing with infected persons. By touching an active infection directly. By touching an inanimate surface infected with the fungus. By coming into contact with a pet carrying it (yes, really). And sometimes from contact with infected soil.

What does it look like?

It starts out as a flat, red-colored patch. It's often circular but the shapes can vary (within moderation). Often, it will be quite itchy as well. The borders of the circle are often raised, sometimes containing tiny red bumps. As it heals the overall appearance tends to get a bit flakey looking, because the area is drying out.

How do I know if I have it?

You visit your doctor and ask. They can take a skin scraping and examine it under the microscope. It's important to INSIST on this, as several non-fungal skin conditions can mimic ringworm in appearance - which means an anti-fungal crème isn't going to improve your symptoms or discomfort.

How do I treat it?

They key to resolving a ringworm infection is drying the sucker out. Early treatment is very helpful, obviously, and you should not be waiting until you are covered in spots to seek medical treatment! Topical crèmes are the most common choice of physicians and you would be using something like Lamisil, Mycelex or Monistat to treat it. Yes, I did say Monistat. Most likely, you have one of these meds in your medicine cabinet. If you do, clean the affected areas and apply the crème 2 times a day until you are able to see your doctor. Unless you have an allergy or specific medical condition, it will not harm you, and might help you get a head start if it does turn out to be a fungus. Some people insist that Tea Tree Oil can cure this - I dunno if I believe that, but if you want to try, it can't hurt.

How can I keep myself from getting it?

Wash your hands - tons of medical nasties can be held off by this simple task. Don't go overboard on spandex and other forms of tight clothing, your skin needs to be able to breathe. Don't go jumping into bed with someone covered in spots. Having ringworm doesn't make you a dirty person - it just makes you an infected person. And anyone can get infected. This is a very common occurrence in small children, too, so if you're a parent and discover you have this, check the kids. And if they have it, check with their school, because if they picked it up from a classmate, that child needs to be treated or it will just keep going round and round and round.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)