First Aid

    Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the skin seen most often on the scalp, body, feet ("athlete's foot"), or groin ("jock itch"). Ringworm isn't a worm — its name comes from how it looks, like a red ring or group of rings with clear centers.

    Signs and Symptoms

    On the skin:

    • starts as a red, scaly patch or bump
    • itching
    • discomfort
    • usually shaped like a circle with raised, tiny bumps around the edges (often with a scaly center)

    On the scalp:

    • may start as a round, reddish, pimple-like sore
    • becomes patchy, flaky, scaly, or crusty (may first be mistaken for dandruff)
    • causes swelling, soreness, redness, bald patches (usually circular), and broken hairs

    What to Do

    • Call your doctor if you think your child has signs of ringworm.
    • Follow the doctor's treatment instructions carefully. Depending on the type and site of the infection, these may include using over-the-counter or prescription cream for the skin, or prescription oral (taken by mouth) medicine for the scalp.
    • Discourage your child from picking at the infected area because this could cause another type of infection.
    • Call your doctor if the area gets redder, is swollen, or develops pus.

    Think Prevention!

    Prevent ringworm by encouraging your kids to:

    • not share combs, brushes, hair accessories, pillows, hats, cellphones, and headphones
    • wear flip-flops at the pool or in the locker room shower
    • wash sports clothing regularly
    • shower after contact sports
    • wash their hands well and often
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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