This Care Guide Covers:

  • Skin infection with 1 or more ring-shaped spots
  • Has a rough edge and clearing of the center
  • Caused by a fungus

If not, see these topics
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Ringworm Rash on Arm
Ringworm Rash on Arm

Ringworm Rash on Leg
Ringworm Rash on Leg

When to Call Your Doctor

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
  • Pus is draining from the rash
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Scalp is involved
  • More than 3 spots are present
  • Child is a wrestler
  • Rash gets bigger or spreads after 1 week on treatment
  • Rash lasts more than 4 weeks
  • You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
  • Mild ringworm
Causes & Health Information


  • Round pink patch
  • Clearing of the center as the patch grows
  • Raised, rough, scaly border
  • Usually ½ to 1 inch (12 -25 mm) in size
  • Ring slowly increases in size
  • Mildly itchy


  • A fungus infection of the skin
  • Can often be spread to humans from puppies or kittens who have it
  • Rarely, can be spread human-to-human. It requires direct skin contact to be passed this way.   An exception is that an epidemic from ringworm can occur among wrestlers. This is because of close body contact during matches.
  • Sometimes, caused by fungus in the soil.

Return to School

  • Your child doesn't have to miss any child care or school for ringworm.

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Ringworm is a fungus infection of the skin.
    • Often it's caught from puppies or kittens that have it.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Antifungal Cream:
    • Use Lamisil, Micatin or Lotrimin cream 2 times per day. No prescription is needed.
    • Put it on the rash and 1 inch (2.5 cm) beyond its borders.
    • Continue the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is cleared.
  3. Return to School:
    • Your child doesn't have to miss any child care or school for ringworm.
    • Sometimes, ringworm of the skin can be passed on to others. It requires direct skin-to-skin contact.
    • Ringworm from pets is not passed from human to human. It is only passed from animal to human.
    • After 48 hours of treatment, ringworm does not spread to others at all.
    • Wrestlers, however, should not wrestle until checked by your child's doctor.
  4. What to Expect:
    • It goes away in 3 to 4 weeks.
    • If it comes back, suspect the household puppy or kitten.
    • Take your animal to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Rash gets bigger or spreads after 1 week on treatment
    • Rash is not gone by 4 weeks
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

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home health advice and more.

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012

Last Revised: 12/11/2012

Content Set: Child Symptom Checker

Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.