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Ringworm (Tinea, ring worm), is a fungal infection of the skin which is considered contagious. It is common among children, and may be spread via contact with contaminated items such as clothing, hairbrushes, and bedding, as well as via skin to skin contact.

Ringworm spreads easily, as those infected are contagious even before they show symptoms of ringworm. Humans can contract ringworm from animals; cats and dogs are often carriers.

ringworm symptoms and diagnosis

The most well known ring worm symptoms are the appearance of one or more red raised itchy patch with defined edges. These patches are often lighter in the center, taking on the appearance of a ring. If the infected area involves the scalp or beard area, then bald patches may become evident. When the nails are affected, they may thicken, become discolor, and finally crumble.

Doctors can diagnose ringworm on sight, or they may take a skin scraping. This is examined under a microscope, or put on an agar plate in a microbiology laboratory and allowed to grow.

Ringworm symptoms usually present within 10 to 14 days of exposure. As ring worm grows, the rash may start out looking like a small dot, and eventually opens up into a larger rash. Many people report that ringworm is extremely itchy, but this is not a requirement.

Posted by Staff at June 8, 2005 9:17 AM

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