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If the scalp is infected, ringworm can cause a bald area. If the feet are infected, they are usually itchy and the skin between the toes may crack. It can affect the face, groin, hands, and other parts of the body.

Ringworm of the feet is commonly called “athlete’s foot”.


Ringworm is caused by a fungus. It's not caused by a worm. Ringworm is contagious. It spreads when you have skin-to-skin contact with a person or animal that has it. 

When someone touches or scratches the rash, the fungus sticks to the fingers or gets under the fingernails. The fungus then spreads when that person touches someone else.

Ringworm of the scalp can be spread if combs, hair brushes, barrettes, bike helmets, headphones or hats are shared.



In most cases, you can treat ringworm on the skin with antifungal creams or ointments. Many are available over-the-counter.

    What to do at home

    • If another child has ringworm, check your child for signs of ringworm. Look for a ring or circle-shaped rash on your child’s head, body or feet.
    • Call your doctor if you think your child has ringworm.
    • Remind children to wash their hands after touching the infected skin.
    • Encourage children not to share combs, brushes and headgear; don’t share facecloths and towels.
    • Wash the affected area daily and keep it dry and clean.
    • To prevent ringworm coming back, use the medicine or cream for as long as your doctor suggests. Do not stop treatment just because the rash disappears.
    • Be aware that pets can have ringworm and can spread it to other animals and to people.

    Children with ringworm may go to the child care centre or school.