Is this topic for you?
This topic is about
ringworm of the skin, groin, or hands. For information about other fungal
infections, see the topics
Fungal Nail Infections, and
Ringworm of the Scalp or Beard.
Ringworm of the skin
is an infection caused by a
Jock itch is a form
of ringworm that causes an itchy rash on the skin of your groin area. It is
much more common in men than in women. Jock itch may be caused by the spread of
athlete's foot fungus to the groin.
What causes ringworm?
Ringworm is not caused by a worm. It is caused by a fungus. The kinds of
fungi (plural of fungus) that cause ringworm live and spread on the top layer
of the skin and on the hair. They grow best in warm, moist areas, such as
locker rooms and swimming pools, and in skin folds.
contagious. It spreads when you have skin-to-skin contact with a person or
animal that has it. It can also spread when you share things like towels,
clothing, or sports gear.
You can also get ringworm by touching an
infected dog or cat, although this form of ringworm is not common.
What are the symptoms?
Ringworm of the skin
usually causes a very itchy rash. It often makes a pattern in the shape of a
ring, but not always. Sometimes it is just a red,
Jock itch is a rash in the skin folds of the groin.
It may also spread to the inner thighs or buttocks.
the hand looks like athlete's foot. The skin on the palm of the hand gets
thick, dry, and scaly. And skin between the fingers may be moist and have open
How is ringworm of the skin diagnosed?
If you have
a ring-shaped rash, you very likely have ringworm. Your doctor will be able to
tell for sure. He or she will probably look at a scraping from the rash under a
microscope to check for the ringworm fungus.
How is it treated?
Most ringworm of the skin can
be treated at home with creams you can buy without a prescription. Your rash
may clear up soon after you start treatment, but it’s important to keep using
the cream for as long as the label or your doctor says. This will help keep the
infection from coming back. If the cream doesn't work, your doctor can
prescribe pills that will kill the fungus.
If ringworm is not
treated, your skin could blister, and the cracks could become infected with
bacteria. If this happens, you will need
If your child is being
treated for ringworm, you don't have to keep him or her out of school or day
Can you prevent ringworm?