Telehealth Doctors and Psychologists Australia

Updated 10 September 2021

What is Ringworm?

ringworm sores
Body Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal skin infection characterized by the formation of itchy rash-like circular patterns on the surface of the skin. The tinea fungus is responsible for this infection and this microorganism survives and actually thrives under warm, moist conditions. This makes the scalp and parts of the body like the inside of the elbows and knees, under the breasts and even the groin region a perfect habitat for the fungus. Tinea corporis, otherwise known as body ringworm, is a fungal infection that can affect all parts of the body. It is related to  Tinea capitus (ringworm of the scalp), (Tinea pedis (athletes foot) and Tinea cruris (jock rash or jock itch). Body Ringworm can easily be transmitted when you share personal items that come into contact with and are exposed to the tinea fungus, such as; beddings, underwear, clothing, towels and other such items.

Symptoms of Body Ringworm

 The most common signs of Tinea corporis on the body include;
  • A red rash forming a circular pattern on the surface of the skin,
  • a slight inflammation on the ring-like pattern,
  • persistent itching at the site of the Body Ringworm, and
  • Weeping blisters and open sores which are highly infectious.

How is Body Ringworm Transmitted?

The fungus that causes Body Ringworm can be transmitted from one person to another by body contact. The fungus can also survive on dead skin cells or keratin. When the infected dead skin cells are left on personal items like towels, bedding and clothing, the tinea fungus can easily be transmitted to anyone that uses the infected personal items. People can even contract Body Ringworm infection by touching objects that have been contaminated by the highly contagious fungus. The fungus can easily be transmitted to others who come into contact with the weeping blisters and open sores of a person with Body Ringworm. It is therefore important that you do not share personal items with other members of your family if you have a Body Ringworm infection.

Body Ringworm Diagnosis

A physical examination of the Body Ringworm infection is conducted by your doctor. The inspection is done in order to give an accurate diagnosis of your condition and to rule out the possibilities of other conditions.  Sometimes samples are taken from the site for testing.                                                                                 

Ringworm Treatment

Keeping the Body Ringworm site clean and dry is the most important thing to do when treating an infection. This will help to stop the growth and spread of the infection, as the tinea fungus will grow rapidly under moist and warm conditions. Your doctor can prescribe antifungal medications which are effective in treating Body Ringworm.  Most of these antifungal medications are topical creams that can be applied directly on the Body Ringworm site.

Recovery and Ringworm Prevention

Early treatment is important and if the Body Ringworm persists after 2 weeks of treatment, see a doctor. To prevent the fungus from recurring, you should use the prescribed medication for at least a week after your Body Ringworm symptoms are gone. Here are a few things you can do to avoid getting Body Ringworm;
  • Avoid sharing clothing, towels, bedding, underwear and any personal item that can be exposed to body contact. If a person with Body Ringworm uses your towel, for example, you are most likely to be infected with the fungus as well, since the fungus causing the infection is very contagious.
  • don’t walk in bare feet in public locker rooms, baths, showers and jacuzzis if you can. These places are ideal breeding grounds for the tinea fungus.
  • Take a shower with toilet soap every evening before you go to bed.
  • Have hand sanitizer on you whenever you go outdoors. The tinea fungus is known to be present on solid objects frequently touched by many people like door handles and doorknobs.
  • Wash your hands as often as you can and when you are unable to take a shower, make sure to wash your face, arms, and hands.
  • Whenever you take a bath or shower, make sure to completely dry yourself with a clean towel especially under the armpits, groin, and between the toes.
  • Regularly wash your towels and flannels.

Ringworm Complications

If you scratch the erythematous lesions of the Body Ringworm infection, you create open sores whichcan be infected by bacteria. However, with proper hygiene and a commitment to antifungal treatment, you can avoid any complications arising from a Body Ringworm infection.