Lima Memorial Health System Logo
Approximate ER WAIT TIME
6

Health Library

Ringworm
     
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks

Ringworm

Dermatophytid; Dermatophyte fungal infection - tinea; Tinea

 

Ringworm is a skin infection due to a fungus. Often, there are several patches of ringworm on the skin at once. The medical name for ringworm is tinea.

Causes

 

Ringworm is common, especially among children. But, it can affect people of all ages. It is caused by a fungus, not a worm like the name suggests.

Many bacteria, fungi, and yeast live on your body. Some of these are useful, while others can cause infections. Ringworm occurs when a type of fungus grows and multiplies on your skin.

Ringworm can spread from one person to another. You can catch ringworm if you touch someone who has the infection, or if you come in contact with items contaminated by the fungus, such as combs, unwashed clothing, and shower or pool surfaces. You can also catch ringworm from pets. Cats are common carriers.

The fungus that causes ringworm thrives in warm, moist areas. Ringworm is more likely when you are often wet (such as from sweating) and from minor injuries to your skin, scalp, or nails.

Ringworm can affect the skin on your:

  • Beard, tinea barbae
  • Body, tinea corporis
  • Feet, tinea pedis (also called athlete's foot)
  • Groin area, tinea cruris (also called jock itch)
  • Scalp, tinea capitis

 

 

References

Elewski BE, Hughey LC, Hunt KM, Hay RJ. Fungal diseases. In: Bolognia JL, Schaffer JV, Cerroni L, eds. Dermatology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 77.

Hay RJ. Dermatophytosis (ringworm) and other superficial mycoses. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 266.

BACK TO TOPText only

 
  • Dermatitis - reaction to tinea

    Dermatitis - reaction to tinea

    illustration

  • Ringworm - tinea corporis on an infant's leg

    Ringworm - tinea corporis on an infant's leg

    illustration

  • Ringworm, tinea capitis - close-up

    Ringworm, tinea capitis - close-up

    illustration

  • Ringworm - tinea on the hand and leg

    Ringworm - tinea on the hand and leg

    illustration

  • Ringworm - tinea manuum on the finger

    Ringworm - tinea manuum on the finger

    illustration

  • Ringworm - tinea corporis on the leg

    Ringworm - tinea corporis on the leg

    illustration

  • Tinea (ringworm)

    Tinea (ringworm)

    illustration

    • Dermatitis - reaction to tinea

      Dermatitis - reaction to tinea

      illustration

    • Ringworm - tinea corporis on an infant's leg

      Ringworm - tinea corporis on an infant's leg

      illustration

    • Ringworm, tinea capitis - close-up

      Ringworm, tinea capitis - close-up

      illustration

    • Ringworm - tinea on the hand and leg

      Ringworm - tinea on the hand and leg

      illustration

    • Ringworm - tinea manuum on the finger

      Ringworm - tinea manuum on the finger

      illustration

    • Ringworm - tinea corporis on the leg

      Ringworm - tinea corporis on the leg

      illustration

    • Tinea (ringworm)

      Tinea (ringworm)

      illustration

    Tests for Ringworm

     
       

      Review Date: 4/14/2021

      Reviewed By: Elika Hoss, MD, Senior Associate Consultant, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
      adam.com