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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Ringworm of the Skin - Exams and Tests

Doctors often can easily recognize ringworm by its ring-shaped rashcamera.gif. Your doctor will probably also look at a skin sample (KOH preparation) under a microscope to confirm that fungus is present.

Tests for ringworm of the skin include:

  • A KOH (potassium hydroxide) preparation. This test can help your doctor find out whether a fungus is causing your rash. The doctor will take a sample of your skin by lightly scraping the infected area. The sample is placed on a slide with potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution and gently heated. If fungus cells are present, the doctor can then see them with a microscope.
  • A Wood's light exam. This test may be used to see if the rash is caused by a fungus. Your doctor will shine a special light on your skin where you have the rash. Certain kinds of fungi glow under this light.
  • A fungal culture (skin culture). This test can identify the type of fungus that is causing your infection. Usually a culture is only done if the diagnosis is difficult or the skin condition is not responding to treatment. This test may take up to 4 weeks, because it takes time for the fungus to grow.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 21, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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