Ringworm is a fungal infection that develops on the top layer of the skin. An itchy, red circular rash often characterizes this condition, although the skin in the middle of the 'ring' appears healthy. While ringworm is often mistaken for being associated with a worm under the skin, it gets its name from the circular shape that the infection takes and is not actually caused by and does not involve an actual worm. Symptoms include itchiness and slightly raised rings of red and scaly skin on the trunk or the face. There may be more than one patch of ringworm and the rings may actually overlap in some cases. The cause of ringworm and other similar fungal infections is microorganisms that turn into parasites on the body. They live on cells in the outer layers of the skin.
Ringworm may be spread through human to human contact (touching skin with an infected individual), animal to human contact (contact with an infected animal such as when petting/grooming a pet) and object to human contact (contact with objects/surfaces that an infected person has contacted i.e. clothing, towels, sheets, brushes, combs). In rare cases, soil to human contact may lead to ringworm if contacted with infected soil. If ringworm occurs over a large area or is severe and does not respond to over-the-counter medicine, a prescription may be required. There are prescription topical and oral medications available, so speak with your doctor to determine which is right for you.
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