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Is It Ringworm? Signs and Symptoms
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Aug 11, 2017 - 9:03:14 AM

They are all cases of ringworm, say dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology. However, despite its name, ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus, not a worm. It is very common, and your risk increases in hot, humid weather.

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"On most areas of the skin, ringworm causes flat, ring-shaped patches to develop," via @AADskin

“On most areas of the skin, ringworm causes flat, ring-shaped patches to develop,” said Melissa Piliang, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “The patches have a raised, scaly border that snakes its way around the edge like a worm, which is probably how ringworm got its name.”

On people with lighter skin tones, the patches tend to be red or pink, says

Dr. Piliang. On people with skin of color, the patches tend to be brown or gray. They canbe intensely itchy, she says, and they can grow slowly – increasing in size and appearing on more areas of the body.

“Anyone can get ringworm, and it can appear on just about any part of the body,” said Dr. Piliang. “However, ringworm can look different on other parts of the body, which is probably why it goes by different names. On your scalp, groin, nails, the palms of your hands, and the soles of your feet, ringworm lacks the ring-shaped pattern.”

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your risk of getting ringworm increases if you:

“Ringworm is very contagious,” said Dr. Piliang. “You can get it by touching an infected person’s skin, petting an infected animal, touching soil infected with ringworm or using an infected object, like a phone, comb or towel.”

If you notice any signs or symptoms of ringworm, Dr. Piliang recommends the following tips:

“Every case of ringworm can be successfully treated, but sometimes it can be stubborn,” said Dr. Piliang. “It’s important to follow your dermatologist’s treatment plan and keep all of your follow-up appointments. If your treatment fails to clear the rash or your infection gets worse, call your dermatologist.”

These tips are demonstrated in “Do I Have Ringworm?”, a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD’s “Video of the Month” series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the AAD website and YouTube channel each month.

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