Description: Ringworm appears initially as a small red area or as a ring-shaped pink patch on the skin. The pink patch is usually ½ to 1 inch in size, with a scaly, raised border. In most areas of the body, ringworm will appear with a regular and symmetric shape. It should be noted that ringworm continues to grow outward in a ring shape if it is not treated, whereas eczema usually does not grow in size after it appears.
Cause: Ringworm is a fungus infection of the skin. It is often transferred from puppies or kittens that have it. Ringworm of the skin is mildly contagious, requiring skin-to-skin contact to spread. The type acquired from pets is not transmitted from human to human, only from animal to human.
Expected course: Ringworm responds well to treatment, and you can expect complete clearing of the condition.
Home Care and Treatment
Antifungal cream: Antifungal cream (such as Tinactin, Micatin, or Lotrimin) can be purchased over the counter. You don’t need a prescription. Apply the cream twice a day to the rash and 1 inch beyond its borders. After 48 hours of treatment, ringworm is not contagious at all. Your child shouldn’t have to miss any school or daycare. Continue the treatment for 1 week after the ringworm patch is smooth and seems to be gone. Successful treatment often takes 3 to 4 weeks. Encourage your child to avoid scratching the area.
Treatment of pets: Kittens and puppies with ringworm usually do not itch and may not have any rash. A veterinarian should examine pets with a skin rash or sores. Also have your child avoid close contact with the animal until he is treated. Natural immunity also develops in animals after 4 months even without treatment. Call your veterinarian with other questions regarding ringworm of your pet.
Oral medication: On occasion, ringworm requires treatment with an oral antifungal medication. Follow the guidelines outlined here, first. Call us for further advice or appointment as outlined below so the doctor can determine if your child needs oral medication to treat the ringworm.
Call the office…
During regular office hours if:
- The ringworm continues to spread after 1 week of treatment.
- The rash has not cleared up in 4 weeks.
- The ringworm is in areas where there is dense hair (scalp, eyebrows, etc.)
- You have other questions or concerns.