Are there worms in ringworm?

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Are there worms in ringworm?

By its mere name, ringworm may sound like a terrifying disease.

While it is highly contagious and can cause discomfort, the condition does not actually involve a worm and its effects are usually not serious.

Ringworm is a fungal infection caused by common mold-like parasites that naturally live on the skin, hair, and nails. It is common in tropical areas and flourishes in damp, warm areas, such as locker rooms and indoor pools. It is spread through people, animals, and contaminated objects and surfaces.

Ringworm gets its name from its circular shape (resembling a ring) that is usually red, scaly, and itchy. It has different names based on where it appears on the body. For example, an infection between the toes and on the soles of the feet is called athlete’s foot. A rash on the groin, upper thighs, or rectum is commonly called jock itch.

Mild cases of ringworm clear up within a few weeks. Over-the-counter and prescription antifungal medications are available to treat the condition.

The Cleveland Clinic offers the following tips to prevent ringworm:

  • Change socks and underwear daily or more frequently if they become damp or soiled
  • Shower immediately after contact sports or exercise
  • Wear sandals or shower shoes at the pool and in public locker rooms and showers
  • Dry skin thoroughly after showering, especially between the toes
  • Avoid sharing towels, washcloths, sheets, clothes, combs or other personal hygiene items
  • Wash clothes, athletic gear, sheets, and towels in hot water and detergent
  • Clean surfaces with bleach or a disinfectant spray