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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Ringworm of the Skin - Topic Overview

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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 antibiotics.

If your child is being treated for ringworm, you don't have to keep him or her out of school or day care.

To prevent ringworm:

  • Don't share clothing, sports gear, towels, or sheets. If you think you have been exposed to ringworm, wash your clothes in hot water with special anti-fungus soap.
  • Wear slippers or sandals in locker rooms and public bathing areas.
  • Shower and shampoo well after any sport that includes skin-to-skin contact.
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Change your socks and underwear at least once a day.
  • Keep your skin clean and dry. Always dry yourself completely after showers or baths, drying your feet last.
  • If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your underwear so that fungi do not spread from your feet to your groin.
  • Take your pet to the vet if it has patches of missing hair, which could be a sign of a fungal infection.

If you or someone in your family has symptoms, it is important to treat ringworm right away to keep other family members from getting it.

Learning about ringworm of the skin:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
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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