Is Ringworm Contagious?

Caused by a fungus, ringworm is a skin infection that usually begins as a flat scaly area on the skin but it quickly turns red and itchy. Then, the patch develops a raised border that forms a circular ring. While the interior of the ring is usually clear, it may sometimes be marked with red bumps. The contours of the ring are quite irregular though. People ask many questions about ringworm, including whether it is contagious. Let's find out now!

Is Ringworm Contagious?

Yes, it is. It can transfer from person to person by skin-to-skin contact, but it is also possible to contract the infection when touching a contaminated surface. You can also become infected when you touch an infected person's clothing.

You are at an increased risk of developing ringworm infection if you wear tight clothing or sweat a lot. Wrestlers are more prone to developing this infection. Keep in mind that even if someone has covered skin areas that are infected, it is still possible to become infected through direct skin-to-skin contact. Sharing a hot tub or swimming pool with someone who has ringworm infection can also put you at a risk of contracting the infection. Interestingly, it is also possible to acquire ringworm infection from dogs and other animals.

How Long Is Ringworm Contagious?

Ringworm stays infected so long as you do not get it treated. If you have the symptoms of a ringworm infection, you should seek treatment immediately. This will ensure that you are no longer contagious after 24-48 hours. 

In case you do not seek treatment in a timely manner, the infection may spread and take months to go away. You will be contagious throughout this time. It means that others around you can contract the infection if they do not take precautionary measures. Keep in mind that sometimes you do not have any symptoms after successful treatment, but you should not stop immediately and continue with your treatment for another 2-4 weeks.

How to Know If You Are Infected with Ringworm?

You usually do not experience any symptom immediately after contracting the infection. The symptoms may take 4-14 days to appear. You will develop itching skin with a red rash that has a ring shape. Keep in mind that ringworm can be contagious even during incubation period. You may notice your fingernails become discolored and thickened in case they develop ringworm infection. People who have weakened immune system are likely to experience severe symptoms – they may even develop skin abscesses.

A microscopic examination of skin scrapings is usually required to diagnose ringworm infections. Your doctor may also take a fungal culture of the infected skin and use it to confirm the diagnosis. Some healthcare providers believe that if someone in your family has ringworm infection, you should also get some treatment even if you have no symptoms yet.

How to Treat Ringworm

Is ringworm contagious? Yes, it is, and therefore it is important to have it treated as soon as possible. The most common treatment option is to use antifungal topical creams. You will not be contagious once you have started the treatment, but it will take weeks for the ringworm infection to disappear completely. You can use topic creams and ointments during this period to control itching and discomfort.

You may have to take oral antifungal medications to deal with a severe ringworm infection. These medications are coupled with topical treatment options to get good results. Be sure to talk to your doctor immediately if your symptoms persist after several weeks or become worse. It is important to talk to your doctor because some forms of ringworm infection like scalp ringworm may not respond well to OTC solutions.

To deal with ringworm, you may also consider taking advantage of home remedies. Here are some options to consider:

  • Make garlic paste by crushing garlic cloves and apply it directly to the affected area for relief.
  • Take apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the affected area.
  • Take some tea tree oil and apply it to the infected area.
  • Make lemongrass tea and drink it thrice a day to treat your symptoms.
  • Make olive leaf extract and consume regularly for relief.

What's more, you can also consider applying turmeric juice, aloe vera, or vinegar and salt to improve your condition.

How to Prevent It

Is ringworm contagious? Yes and as you may have noticed, it is never easy to deal with a ringworm infection, which is why it makes great sense to take precautionary measures and avoid it in the first place. Here are some steps you can take to prevent it:

  • Educate yourself about ringworm. You should also tell others about it and the way it spreads. Know the symptoms and react quickly when you notice those symptoms.
  • Pay attention to keeping your hands clean. Wash them thoroughly several times a day to avoid contracting an infection. Do not share personal items with others, and ensure that you keep shared areas clean, especially in childcare centers, schools, locker rooms, and gyms.
  • Pay attention to keep your body cool and dry. Fungus will grow in humid environments, so you should take steps to avoid excessive sweating and keep you cool in humid weather.
  • Do not go near infected animals. You can also contract an infection by exposing your skin to those infected animals.
 
 
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