Ringworm got its name because it produces a red raised round lesion which looks similar to a worm. Although its name suggests otherwise, ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus NOT a worm.
Ringworm is contagious and can be passed from one person to the next by direct skin-to-skin contact or by contact with contaminated items such as combs, unwashed clothing and shower or pool surfaces.
Also, you can catch ringworm from pets that carry the fungus. Cats are common carriers. The appearance of ringworm on your pets is different than human lesions. In general, dogs and cats suffering from ringworm have one or more areas of patchy hair loss often containing red, raised bumps. Pets may be extremely itchy in ringworm areas.
Ringworm is a common skin disorder, especially among children but it may affect people of all ages. Many bacteria and fungi live on your body. Some of these are useful to you and your body. Others can multiply rapidly and form infections. Ringworm occurs when a particular type of fungus grows and multiplies anywhere on your skin, scalp, or nails.
The fungi that cause ringworm thrive in warm, moist areas. Ringworm is more likely when you have frequent wetness (such as from sweating) and minor injuries to your skin, scalp, or nails.
Ringworm can affect skin on your body (tinea corporis), scalp (tinea capitis), groin area (tinea cruris, also called jock itch), or feet (tinea pedis, also called athlete's foot). Often, there are several patches of ringworm on your skin at once.
Other symptoms of ringworm include itchy, red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze. The patches often have sharply-defined edges. They are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center. This may create the appearance of a ring. Your skin may also appear unusually dark or light. When your scalp or beard is infected, you will have bald patches. If nails are infected, they become discolored, thick, and even crumble.
Ringworm usually responds well to self-care within 4 weeks without having to see a doctor. Keep your skin clean and dry. Apply over-the-counter antifungal or drying powders, lotions, or creams.