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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Brenner Children’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location. Learn more

In order to help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s outpatient or inpatient facilities, except in certain situations.
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More COVID-19 Updates

First Aid: Ringworm

First Aid: Ringworm

First AidRingworm is a common fungal infection of the skin seen most often on the scalp, body, feet ("athlete's foot"), or groin ("jock itch"). Ringworm actually isn't a worm at all — 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
  • circular pattern with raised, bumpy, borders (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, tenderness, redness, bald patches (usually circular), and broken hairs

What to Do

  • Call your doctor if you think your child has symptoms 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 medication for the scalp.
  • Discourage your child from picking at the infected area since this could cause infection.
  • Contact your doctor if increasing redness, swelling, or pus occurs.

Think Prevention!

Prevent ringworm by encouraging your kids to:

  • avoid sharing combs, brushes, hair accessories, pillows, hats, and headphones
  • wear flip-flops at the pool or in the locker room shower
  • wash sports clothing regularly
  • shower after contact sports
  • wash hands well and often

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014