Ringworm of the Skin (cont.)
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Ringworm infection is caused by a fungus. Fungi (plural of fungus) that cause ringworm live and spread on the outer layer of skin. Ringworm is not caused by a worm or other parasite.
Fungi are present everywhere in our environment, including on the human body. They thrive in warm, moist areas, such as locker rooms and swimming pools, and in skin folds. You can get ringworm of the skin by sharing contaminated towels, clothing, and sports equipment, and by direct contact with an infected person.
Ringworm of the skin (tinea corporis) is most commonly caused by the fungus Trichophyton rubrum, which spreads from one person to another. It can also be caused by Microsporum canis, which is spread by cats and dogs. This type is less common but causes a more severe infection.
People often get ringworm of the groin ("jock itch") by accidentally spreading athlete's foot fungus to their own groin area. People who have athlete's foot also commonly spread it to their hands (tinea manuum).
Some people are more likely to get fungal infections than others. The tendency to get fungal skin infections or to have them return after treatment seems to run in families.
Most ringworm infections cause a rash that may be peeling, cracking, scaling, itching, and red. Sometimes the rash forms blisters, especially on the feet.
Symptoms of ringworm of the body include a rash:
Symptoms of ringworm of the face include a rash:
Symptoms of ringworm of the groin (jock itch) include a rash:
Symptoms of ringworm on the hand include a rash:
Fingernails can also be infected. For more information, see the topic Fungal Nail Infections.
Ringworm of the skin may be confused with other conditions with similar symptoms, such as eczema or psoriasis.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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