Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Tinea Infections (Ringworm)

Tinea Infections (Ringworm)

Did You Know?

"Ringworm" is a misleading term that refers to the circular appearance of the fungal lesion. There are no worms involved.

What are tinea infections (ringworm)?

Different fungi, depending on their location on the body, cause ringworm. Ringworm is characterized by ring-shaped, red, scaly patches with clearing centers. There is an increased risk of contracting ringworm if a person:

What are the most common types of ringworm?

The most common types of ringworm include the following:

The symptoms of ringworm may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is ringworm diagnosed?

Ringworm is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination. The lesions of ringworm are unique, and usually allow for a diagnosis simply on physical examination. In addition, your physician may order a culture or skin scraping of the lesion to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for ringworm

Because the fungi can live indefinitely on the skin, recurrences of ringworm are common. Treatment may need to be repeated. Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:

Treatment for scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) may include an oral antifungal medication that is usually prescribed for four to eight weeks. Some people require longer treatment. Treatment for scalp ringworm may also involve the use of a special shampoo to help eliminate the fungus. If a kerion is present, your physician may order additional medications, such as steroids, to help reduce the swelling.

Treatment for ringworm of the body, groin, and foot is usually a topical antifungal agent or an oral antifungal medication. The length of the treatment depends on the location of the ringworm. 

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