Tinea Infections (Ringworm)
What are tinea infections (ringworm)?Different fungi, depending on their location on the child's body, cause ringworm. Ringworm is characterized by ring-shaped red, scaly patches with clearing centers. There is an increased risk of contracting ringworm if your child:
- is malnourished.
- has poor hygiene.
- lives in a warm climate.
- has contact with other children or pets that have ringworm.
- is immunocompromised by disease or medication.
What are the most common types of ringworm?The most common types of ringworm include the following:
- athlete's foot (tinea pedis or foot ringworm)
This common condition mostly affects teen and adult males. It less frequently affects children before puberty. Contributing causes include sweating, not drying the feet well after swimming or bathing, wearing tight socks and shoes, and warm weather conditions. Symptoms of athlete's foot may include:
- whitening of the skin between the toes
- scaling of the feet
- itchy rash on the feet
- blisters on the feet
- jock itch (tinea cruris or groin ringworm)
This condition is also more common in males and occurs more often during warm weather conditions. It is very rare in females. Symptoms of jock itch may include:
- red, ring-like patches in the groin area
- itching in the groin area
- pain in the groin area
- does not usually involve the scrotum
- scalp ringworm (tinea capitis)
Scalp ringworm is highly contagious, especially among children. It occurs mainly in children between the ages of 2 to 10. It rarely occurs in adults. Symptoms of scalp ringworm may include:
- red, scaly rash on the scalp
- itching of the scalp
- hair loss on the scalp
- rash elsewhere on the body
- nail ringworm (tinea unguium)
An infection of the finger or toe nail, characterized by a thickened, deformed nail. This condition more often affects the toenails than the fingernails. This occurs more often in adolescents and adults rather than young children. Symptoms of nail ringworm may include:
- thickening of the ends of the nails
- yellow color to the nails
- body ringworm (tinea corporis)
This skin infection is characterized by a ring-like rash anywhere on the body or the face. It occurs in all ages but is seen more frequently in children. It is more common in warmer climates. The symptoms of body ringworm may include:
- red, circular lesion with raised edges
- the middle of the lesion may become less red as the lesion grows
- itching of the affected area
How is ringworm diagnosed?Ringworm is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of your child. The lesions of ringworm are unique, and usually allow for a diagnosis simply on physical examination. In addition, your child's physician may order a culture or skin scraping of the lesion to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for ringworm:Because the fungi can live indefinitely on the skin, recurrences of ringworm are likely. Treatment may need to be repeated. Specific treatment will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the condition
- location of the ringworm
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the condition
- your opinion or preference
- oral anti-fungal medication - this medication is usually prescribed for four to eight weeks. Some children require longer treatment.
- use of a special shampoo (to help eliminate the fungus)
Treatment for ringworm of the body, groin, and foot is usually a topical anti-fungal agent or an oral antifungal medication. The length of the treatment depends on the location of the ringworm.
The information on this Web page is provided for educational purposes. You understand and agree that this information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You agree that Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital is not making a diagnosis of your condition or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances through the use of this Web page. You agree to be solely responsible for your use of this Web page and the information contained on this page. Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and information providers shall not be liable for any damages you may suffer or cause through your use of this page even if advised of the possibility of such damages.