Ringworm Infection: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ringworm Infection: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Dr. Abhay Prakash Joshi
November 17, 20205 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • It is caused by a fungus that generally presents as legion in the shape of a worm.
  • It can occur by coming into contact with the fungus, which can be transmitted in a lot of ways.
  • A few home remedies can help to ease the symptoms before getting medical care.

Skin infections are a fairly common occurrence, especially if you’re exposed to unclean environments. They are normally present with a rash or some form of skin legion. The side effects include skin darkening or permanent hair loss when left untreated. A particularly bad infection is the ringworm infection, which is actually a misnomer as it caused by a fungus. Ringworm infection is highly contagious and is common among children due to poor personal hygiene.

The best way to avoid it is to be thoroughly informed about it. Being aware of the different ringworm causes can help identify symptoms or early signs before the infection spreads. Here’s all you need to know about the ringworm infection.

What is Ringworm Infection?

It is caused by a fungus that generally presents as legion in the shape of a worm. The mold-like parasites live on the dead tissue of skins by feeding on the keratin protein. Ringworm is highly contagious and those with suppressed or weakened immune systems will have trouble fighting it off.

Ringworm affects animals and humans as well, which is why it is important to prioritise hygiene to prevent it. It can infect several areas of the body and each has a different nomenclature. Here is a list to refer to.

  1. Tinea pedis: Athlete’s foot
  2. Tinea curis: Groin infection or jock itch
  3. Tinea corporis: Body/skin ringworm
  4. Tinea capitis: Scalp ringworm
  5. Tinea uguium: Infection of the nail bed
  6. Tinea barbae: Beard infection

Ringworm Infection Causes

It can occur by coming into contact with the fungus, which can be transmitted in the following ways:

Through soil

The fungus can survive as spores in the soil and coming into contact with it directly can cause infection.

Skin contact

Physical contact with an infected person can cause the infection.


It isn’t uncommon for animals to get infected with ringworm and coming into contact with them can spread it to you.


The fungus can linger on surfaces like clothes, towels, combs, brushes, and sheets used by the infected.

There are several risk factors that you should know about. Watch out for the following.

  • Tight restrictive clothing with excessive sweating
  • Weakened immune system
  • Warm climate
  • Sports with skin-to-skin contact
  • Use of public showers or locker rooms

Symptoms of Ringworm Infection

Primarily, a ringworm infection presents as a patchy area of itchy skin, but this depends on where you’re infected. Some of the other symptoms include:

  • Scaly patches with raised edges called plaques
  • Patches of skin with blisters or pustules
  • Thick and discolored nails
  • Bald patches
  • Swollen glands
  • Tiredness
  • Flaky skin

Ringworm Treatment

There are two main approaches to treatment: lifestyle changes and medicines for ringworm. The treatment should ideally involve both these approaches. For medication, doctors may prescribe topical antifungal creams, gels, or ointments. In more severe cases, oral medications like terbinafine or griseofulvin (Gris-PEG) may be required.

For the lifestyle changes, doctors might suggest:

  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Drying infected areas thoroughly
  • Disinfecting the surround and washing clothing and bedding regularly

How To Cure Ringworm Fast

Getting rid of ringworm fast requires you to first identify the symptoms and approach a dermatologist for specific medication if needed. Here are a few home remedies that may offer instant relief.

Turmeric paste:

Turmeric has antifungal and antibacterial properties. You can apply a turmeric paste to the affected area or take a turmeric supplement daily.

Coconut oil massages:

Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. You can apply it directly to the affected area or take a tablespoon of coconut oil internally daily.

Apple cider vinegar application:

Apple cider vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties. You can apply it directly to the affected area or take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in water three times a day.

Antibacterial soaps:

Bathing with soaps having antibacterial properties on a daily basis can be highly helpful in getting rid of ringworms.

Aloe vera gel scrubs:

Aloe vera has proven effective for treating bacterial as well as fungal infections. Therefore, aloe vera gel scrubs can help in getting rid of the itchiness and inflammation associated with ringworms.

Tea tree oil:

Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal agent and can be applied topically to the affected area.


Garlic has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties. You can apply a crushed garlic clove to the affected area or take a garlic supplement daily.

Oregano oil:

Oregano oil is a natural antifungal agent. You can apply it directly to the affected area or take an oregano oil supplement daily.

Grapefruit seed extract:

Grapefruit seed extract is a natural antifungal agent. You can apply it directly to the affected area or take a grapefruit seed extract supplement daily.

Lemongrass oil:

Lemongrass oil is an effective essential oil for ringworm. Just apply a few drops of lemongrass oil to the affected area.

Ringworm Prevention Tips

These are the practices you can put into place to avoid a ringworm infection:

      1. Wear shoes with proper air circulation
      2. Change socks and underwear daily
      3. Avoid sharing personal items like towels, sheets, clothing or handkerchiefs
      4. Maintain good personal hygiene
      5. Clean yourself after playing with pets
      6. Shower immediately if you play close-contact sports
      7. Keep your fingernails clean and clipped
      8. Dry your skin and keep it clean if exposed to soil

Given its highly contagious nature, it is important to pay close attention to what ringworm is caused by and steer clear of these factors. You can always try a few home remedies to ease the symptoms before getting medical care. This is a recommended approach as an untreated ringworm infection has life-long complications. Thankfully, with the healthcare platform provided by Bajaj Finserv Health, it doesn’t have to come to this as you can find the best specialists in your locality and get treatment remotely.

With this platform, you have access to the suite of benefits that come with telemedicine. You can find the best dermatologists in your area, book appointments at their clinics online and even opt for video consultations, if needed. With a ringworm infection, opting for video consults can be quite favourable, especially since it reduces the risk of further spread. What’s more, you can also get tested and send over digital patient records with the Health Vault feature for the complete online healthcare experience. Take advantage of these features and prioritise your health.

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  1. http://www.ijpd.in/article.asp?issn=2319-7250;year=2018;volume=19;issue=4;spage=326;epage=330;aulast=Mishra

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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